An unrepentant Islamist who injured 30 people in a 2016 bombing is trying to promote his extremist ideology to other prisoners and deserves the mandatory life in prison as required by his conviction, prosecutors told a judge on Tuesday.
The government said Afghanistan-born Ahmad Khan Rahimi carried out bombings in New Jersey and New York City after following the propaganda of Osama bin Laden and groups including ISIS and al-Qaida.
“Since his arrest and conviction, the defendant has failed to show remorse for his crimes, and has instead attempted to radicalize his fellow inmates and made light of his attacks,” prosecutors wrote to Judge Richard M. Berman, who is scheduled to sentence Rahimi on Feb. 13.
The government said Rahimi began researching extremist ideology in 2012 and sent family members speeches by Anwar al-Awlaki, a U.S.-born cleric who inspired attacks on America and was killed in a U.S. airstrike in September 2011. It said he also collected online videos depicting and calling for attacks. One video was titled: “It’s Time For a Beheading.” Another: “Muslim beheading Christian.”
Rahimi began attempting to radicalize other inmates at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in October, the same month he was convicted.
He provided inmates with speeches and lectures by bin Laden and al-Awlaki along with “The Book of Jihad,” bomb-making instructions and various issues of a propaganda magazine. He let inmates view the materials on his laptop and gave them electronic copies, including to an inmate facing charges that he provided material support to the Islamic State.
“As the evidence at trial demonstrated, the defendant was committed to waging his holy war against Americans years before he carried out his attack. Even today, he appears to remain steadfast in that commitment and has shown no remorse,” prosecutors said. “The defendant’s communications while incarcerated further demonstrate that, far from appreciating the depravity of his actions, he is proud of what he did, scornful of the American justice system, and as dedicated as ever to his terrorist ideology.”
The government also said Rahimi joked in a jailhouse call with a family member that his mother was complaining that she had no pressure cookers after he used two pressure cooker-type bombs. He also boasted that he doesn’t need to watch the news because “I am the news.”
“His conduct reflects a complete lack of respect for the law and indicates that he has not been deterred, but rather emboldened,” they wrote.