The 31-year-old Bangladeshi immigrant was sentenced by a federal judge on Thursday. Ullah partially detonated a homemade pipe bomb that was strapped to his chest in a crowded subway tunnel on Dec. 11, 2017, injuring four including himself. The bomb did not function as intended, seriously injuring Ullah and striking three others with shrapnel. The incident was later labeled an attempted suicide bombing attack.
Prosecutors alleged that Ullah said he carried out the attempted attack on behalf of ISIS, although he later denied being an ISIS sympathizer during the court proceedings. His lawyers asked the judge for a 35-year sentence instead of life in prison, a motion that was quickly rejected.
The defense claimed that Ullah was going through “a major depressive episode” in late 2017, later finding “hope on the internet in the distorted messages of the Islamic State and its radical supporters.” It argued that he did not intend to harm others, but to kill himself, instead.
Per a statement from the Department of Justice in 2018, Ullah was convicted of one count of provision of material support and resources to a designated foreign terrorist organization, one count of using and attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction, one count of bombing and attempting to bomb a place of public use, one count of destruction of property by means of fire or explosives, and one count of use of a destructive device in furtherance of a crime of violence. He was found guilty on all counts.
In the sentencing letter from the government, it was suggested that Ullah had demonstrated “the depths of his radicalization” just two weeks after his arrest when he “chillingly warned a correctional officer: ‘You started this war, we will finish it. More is coming, you’ll see.’”