News and Press Releases

Shahawar Matin Siraj Convicted of Conspiring to Place Explosives at the 34th Street Subway Station

May 24, 2006

Faces a Maximum Sentence of Life Imprisonment

SHAHAWAR MATIN SIRAJ was convicted today by a federal jury in Brooklyn of conspiring to plant explosive devices at the 34th Street subway station in Manhattan in August 2004, just prior to start of the Republican National Convention at nearby Madison Square Garden. The verdict was announced today by Roslynn R. Mauskopf, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, after five weeks of trial. SIRAJ faces a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. SIRAJ remains held without bail, where he has been since his arrest on August 27, 2004.

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 in this trial.

  “SIRAJ conspired to plant a bomb in one of the most active public transportation hubs in America,” stated United States Attorney Mauskopf. “Thanks to the diligent work of law enforcement, the plot never developed beyond the planning stage, and the public was never at risk. This case demonstrates our unwavering commitment to ensure that we stop terrorist plans before they become terrorist acts. We will spare no effort to secure the safety of our residents.” Ms. Mauskopf praised the outstanding work of the New York City Police Department, and in particular, the courageous work of the Intelligence Division’s undercover detective known only as “Kamil Pasha” who testified at trial. Ms. Mauskopf also thanked the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the New York Joint Terrorist Task Force for their efforts in this matter.

At trial, the government established 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 jury heard 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 declared his hatred for America and openly discussed his desire to place explosives on various bridges and in subway stations in New York City, including his plan to bomb the subway station at 34th Street. In furtherance of their scheme, SIRAJ and Elshafay drove to the subway station on August 21, 2004, entered and inspected the station, and then returned to their car and drew diagrams of the location in order to help them later place a bomb. At the time they were arrested on August 27, 2004 neither SIRAJ nor Elshafay was in possession of any explosive material.

When sentenced by United States District Judge Nina Gershon, SIRAJ faces a maximum sentence of life imprisonment on the charge of conspiracy to place and detonate an explosive in a public transportation system; a minimum sentence of five years and a maximum sentence of 20 years imprisonment on the charge of conspiracy to damage and destroy, by means of an explosive, a building or vehicle; a maximum sentence of 20 years imprisonment on the charge of conspiracy to wreck and disable a mass transportation vehicle; and a maximum sentence of 20 years imprisonment on the charge of conspiracy to place a destructive device in or near a facility used in the operation of mass transportation.

 The government’s case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Todd Harrison and Marshall L. Miller assigned to the Violent Crimes and Terrorism Section, under the supervision of Section Chief Kelly T. Currie.

The Defendant:

DOB: 05/26/82

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