(NEW YORK) — The man accused of detonating an explosive in a New York City subway passageway, only causing serious injury to himself, made his initial appearance before a federal judge Wednesday via video from his hospital bed.
Akayed Ullah, 27, an immigrant from Bangladesh, is accused of setting off a homemade bomb in an underground passageway near the Port Authority Bus Terminal on Monday morning, forcing commuters to evacuate the major transit hub just blocks from Times Square. Five victims suffered minor injuries, officials said. Ullah suffered burns to his torso and arms.
At his afternoon court appearance, Ullah, who had a bed sheet up to his neck, peered straight into the camera with no discernible emotion.
He spoke softly when he affirmed he could see the judge and responded, “Yes I have” when asked whether he had seen the complaint that charges him with five federal counts, including the use of a weapon of mass destruction and bombing a place of public use.
Ullah could face life in prison. The death penalty is not a possibility in this case because there were no deaths resulting from his alleged crimes.
Ullah was ordered held until his next court date on Jan. 13.
Ullah allegedly aimed to “murder as many innocent human beings as he could and to blow himself up in the process — all in support of a vicious terrorist cause,” Joon Kim, acting U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, said at a news conference Tuesday
He wrote on Facebook the morning of his alleged attack, “Trump you failed to protect your nation,” according to the federal complaint against him.
Ullah made statements to police indicating he “was inspired by ISIS to carry out” the attack and said, “I did it for the Islamic State,” according to the charging document.
Ullah’s radicalization began in at least 2014 when he began viewing pro-ISIS material online, the document stated. Some of the material he viewed included instructions to attack in homelands if unable to travel overseas to join ISIS on the battlefield, the document alleged.
Ullah began researching how to build improvised explosive devices a year ago, the charging document said.
Ullah built the bomb in his Brooklyn home a week before his alleged attack, according to the complaint.
Ullah’s wife, Jannatul Ferdous, told ABC News that the two spoke on the morning of the alleged attack. She said there were no signs of anything wrong on Monday morning and she said her husband — whom she married in 2016 — had never said anything negative about the United States.
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