Yesterday, Shahawar Matin Siraj, who had been convicted of plotting to bomb the West 34th Street subway station at Herald Square, was sentenced to 30 years in jail. Siraj, in jail since his arrest in August 2004, had claimed he was entrapped by authorities, since a police informer had secretly taped their conversations where Siraj discussed his plans. After receiving his sentence, the 24 year old he said, "Your honor I want to apologize about whatever I said in the tapes — I wish I could take those words back but it already happened, I already said those things. I’m taking responsibility for 34th Street, but I was manipulated by this person.” He also said, "I told [the informer], 'I don't want to do it.' I told him I wanted to ask my mother's permission."

However, federal Judge Nine Gershon felt that the government proved that Siraj was leading the group to bomb the subway, even if they didn't have supplies or a timetable. From the NY Times:

Judge Gershon, when she handed down the sentence, noted that while some of the recordings captured Mr. Siraj saying the attack should occur at the time the station was the least busy, it would nonetheless have been deadly and devastating.

“The crimes committed here were extremely serious,” she said. “They had the potential, if not thwarted, to wreak havoc with the New York City transportation system, indeed, the tristate-area transportation system.”

She added that such an attack would have meant enormous economic losses, disruption and loss of life.

Siraj will be deported back to Pakistan after he serve his 30 year sentence. Siraj's parents also face deportation for unrelated issues.

Police Commissioner Ray Kelly called Siraj's sentence "a milestone in the safeguarding of New York City." However, Siraj's lawyer Martin Stolar criticized the police, saying, "The NYPD was able to create a crime in order to solve it and claim a victory in the war on terrorism."