Abid Naseer, a 29 year old Pakistani man was sentenced to 40 years in prison this week by a federal judge in New York. Abid Naseer originally moved from his home in Pakistan to pursue an education in the UK. However, according to FBI assistant director-in-charge Diego Rodriguez, Naseer failed to study and take advantage of the British education visa system while he was in Europe. Instead, he exploited the program and opportunity “to take away the lives of many others in large numbers.” Following Naseer’s first arrest in the United Kingdom in 2009, for planning a bomb attack on the Arndale shopping centre in Manchester, he was initially ordered to leave the UK however, a judge allowed him to stay in the country after he ruled that it was likely unsafe for him to return to Pakistan.
Although Abid Naseer declared his innocence to the jury that sat through his trial in New York they didn’t believe it. Naseer claims that the trial was unfair and he shouldn’t have appeared in front of a jury in a post 9/11 New York instead of the UK. US prosectors disagree and are delighted with the outcome. They hope that his sentence will send a strong message to other terrorist that “they will be caught and they will be put behind bars for life.” I certainly hope that this provides some deterrence for future terrorists. But how do you deter terrorists who are able and willing to die for their cause? Is jail really much of a deterrent in these cases? I also found it interesting that when Naseer appealed to Judge Raymond Dearie that he wasn’t a “career criminal” the judge quickly replied, “I know you’re not. You’re a terrorist.” Americans, especially in New York, have a very strong hatred towards terrorists. And in this instance I think this man’s jail time shows the hatred we have towards terrorists and suspected terrorists.