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US judge orders Akayed detained ahead of trial

  • Published at 05:56 pm December 14th, 2017
US judge orders Akayed detained ahead of trial

Akayed Ullah, the Bangladeshi man accused of attempting a suicide bombing in a busy New York City commuter hub will remain in federal custody while he awaits trial on charges that include supporting a foreign terrorist organization, a judge ruled on Wednesday.

The 27-year-old supporter of the Islamic State militant group, appeared by video for a brief hearing from his bed in Bellevue Hospital, where he was recovering from injuries he suffered when his homemade bomb ignited but failed to detonate on Monday.

Akayed was covered with a white blanket and remained largely expressionless as Magistrate Judge Katharine Parker told him that he had a right to an attorney and did not have to make any statements.

Assistant US Attorney Shawn Crowley asked that Akayed be detained without bail. Akayed's court-appointed attorney, Amy Gallichio, did not dispute the request, meaning her client that will not be released on bail.

In addition to Akayed, three people suffered minor injuries when he attempted to detonate a pipe bomb secured to his midsection in a pedestrian tunnel under the sprawling Port Authority Bus Terminal transportation complex, where many commuters from New York's suburbs arrive on buses and transfer to local subways.

"I did it for the Islamic State," Akayed told police after the blast, according to papers filed by federal prosecutors.

Akayed, who has lived in the United States since 2011, began his self-radicalization in 2014 when he started viewing pro-Islamic State materials online, prosecutors said. He carried out his attack because he was angry over US policies in the Middle East, they said.

Inside Akayed's passport, which was recovered from his home, were handwritten notes, including one that read, "O AMERICA, DIE IN YOUR RAGE."

The charges he faces include providing material support to terrorists, use of a weapon of mass destruction and bombing a place of public use.

The attack was the latest inspired by militants to hit the United States' biggest city by population. In October, an Uzbek immigrant killed eight people by racing a rental truck down a bike bath.

Also in October, an Afghan-born US citizen was convicted of planting two bombs in New York's Chelsea neighbourhood in 2016, one of which exploded and wounded 30 people.