Adis Medunjanin, 34, who joined al Qaeda and plotted to commit a suicide terrorist attack, was found guilty of multiple federal terrorism offenses after a four-week trial, the government announced Tuesday.
The defendant and his accomplices came within days of executing a plot to conduct coordinated suicide bombings in the New York City subway system in September 2009, as directed by senior al Qaeda leaders in Pakistan, the prosecution said. When the plot was foiled, the defendant attempted to commit a terrorist attack by crashing his car on the Whitestone Expressway in an effort to kill himself and others.
Medunjanin was convicted of conspiring to use weapons of mass destruction, conspiring to commit murder of U.S. military personnel abroad, providing and conspiring to provide material support to al Qaeda, receiving military training from al Qaeda, conspiring and attempting to commit an act of terrorism transcending national boundaries, and using firearms and a destructive devices in relation to the offenses.
When sentenced by U.S. District Judge John Gleeson in September, Medunjanin faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison. To date, seven defendants, including Medunjanin and his co-plotters, Najibullah Zazi and Zarein Ahmedzay, have been convicted in connection with the al Qaeda New York City bombing plot and related charges.
The government’s evidence in this and related cases established that in 2008, Medunjanin, Zazi and Ahmedzay traveled to the Mideast, met with al Qaeda leaders and received al Qaeda training on how to use various types of high-powered weapons, including the AK-47, PK machine gun, and rocket-propelled grenade launcher.
They were encouraged to return to the United States to conduct “martyrdom” operations against well-known targets and maximize the number of casualties. Possible target locations in Manhattan included the subway system, Grand Central Station, the New York Stock Exchange, Times Square, and movie theaters.
On Jan. 7, 2010, law enforcement agents executed a search warrant at Medunjanin’s residence. Shortly thereafter, he left his apartment and attempted to turn his car into a weapon of terror by crashing it into another car at high speed on the Whitestone Expressway. Moments before impact, Medunjanin called 911, identified himself, and left his message of martyrdom, shouting an al Qaeda slogan: “We love death more than you love your life.”
Find the government’s full press release on the case at qchron.com.