Terrorist Gets 30 Year Sentence in New York Subway Bomb Case
by Jim Kouri, CPP
Convicted terrorist Shahawar Matin Siraj was sentenced to 30 years in prison for his role in conspiring to plant explosive devices at the 34th Street subway station in Manhattan in August 2004, just prior to the start of the Republican National Convention at nearby Madison Square Garden.
The sentencing proceeding was held before US District Judge Nina Gershon at the US Courthouse in Brooklyn. Siraj was convicted by a federal jury in Brooklyn on May 24, 2006, following a five-week trial in which some testimony shocked courtroom observers.
Siraj is the second individual convicted for participating in this plot. In October 2004, James Elshafay pleaded guilty to conspiracy to damage or destroy a subway station by means of an explosive, and testified against Siraj at his trial. Elshafay’s sentencing date has not yet been scheduled.
At trial, the government proved that Siraj and Elshafay plotted to plant explosive devices at the Herald Square subway station in order to disrupt commerce and transportation in New York City and damage the economy.
The evidence submitted in court included hours of secretly recorded conversations between Siraj and Osama Eldawoody, an Egyptian nuclear engineer who became a paid informant for the New York City Police Department’s Intelligence Division, in which Siraj expressed his hatred for America.
He also was heard discussing his desire to place explosives on various bridges and in subway stations in New York City, including the subway station at 34th Street.
As part of their terror plot, on August 21, 2004, the terrorists Siraj and Elshafay inspected the station, and later drew diagrams of the location in order to help them place a bomb.
However, when arrested on August 27, 2004, neither Siraj nor Elshafay possessed any explosives or bomb making materials.
“Thanks to the extraordinary work of law enforcement, the defendants’ plot did not advance beyond the planning stage, and the public was never at risk,” stated U.S. Attorney Barbara Mauskopf.
“We remain steadfast in our commitment to stop would-be terrorists before they act, and will apply all available resources to secure the safety of our residents,” she added.
Ms. Mauskopf praised the outstanding work of the New York City Police Department, and thanked the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the New York Joint Terrorist Task Force for their work in thwarting the terrorists' scheme that could have resulted in devastating death and property destruction..
The government’s case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Todd Harrison and Marshall L. Miller of the Eastern District’s Violent Crimes and Terrorism Section.
Jim Kouri, CPP is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police. He's former chief at a New York City housing project in Washington Heights nicknamed "Crack City" by reporters covering the drug war in the 1980s. In addition, he served as director of public safety at a New Jersey university and director of security for a number of organizations. He's also served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country. He writes for many police and crime magazines including Chief of Police, Police Times, The Narc Officer, Campus Law Enforcement Journal, and others. He's appeared as on-air commentator for over 100 TV and radio news and talk shows including Oprah, McLaughlin Report, CNN Headline News, MTV, Fox News, etc. His book Assume The Position is available at Amazon.Com, Booksamillion.com, and can be ordered at local bookstores. Kouri holds a bachelor of science in criminal justice and master of arts in public administration and he's a board certified protection professional.