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Subway bombing suspect faces charges from his hospital bed

  • Police officers patrol in the passageway connecting New York City's Port Authority bus terminal and the Times Square subway station on Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2017, near the site of Monday's explosion. Commuters returning to New York City's subway system on Tuesday were met with heightened security a day after a would-be suicide bomber's rush-hour blast failed to cause the bloodshed he intended. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig) Seth Wenig

  • FILE - This undated photo provided by the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission shows Akayed Ullah, the suspect in the explosion near New York's Times Square. (New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission via AP) Ullah appeared by video from a hospital room, Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2017, before a U.S. magistrate judge, to face terrorism charges and will remain detained. Two assistant public defenders stood beside his hospital bed but did not request bail. (NY Taxi and Limousine Commission via AP)

  • Police officers patrol in the passageway connecting New York City's Port Authority bus terminal and the Times Square subway station Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2017, near the site of Monday's explosion. Commuters returning to New York City's subway system on Tuesday were met with heightened security a day after a would-be suicide bomber's rush-hour blast in the heart of the New York City subway system failed to cause the bloodshed he intended. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig) Seth Wenig

  • A police officer patrols in the passageway connecting New York City's Port Authority bus terminal and the Times Square subway station Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2017, near the site of Monday's explosion. Commuters returning to New York City's subway system on Tuesday were met with heightened security a day after a would-be suicide bomber's rush-hour blast failed to cause the bloodshed he intended. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig) Seth Wenig

  • A police officer stands in the passageway connecting New York City's Port Authority bus terminal and the Times Square subway station Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2017, near the site of Monday's explosion. Commuters returning to New York City's subway system on Tuesday were met with heightened security a day after a would-be suicide bomber's rush-hour blast failed to cause the bloodshed he intended. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig) Seth Wenig

  • Police officers patrol in the passageway connecting New York City's Port Authority bus terminal and the Times Square subway station Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2017, near the site of Monday's explosion. Commuters returning to New York City's subway system on Tuesday were met with heightened security a day after a would-be suicide bomber's rush-hour blast failed to cause the bloodshed he intended. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig) Seth Wenig

  • Acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Joon H. Kim speaks to reporters during a news conference in New York, Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2017. Commuters returning to New York City's subway system on Tuesday were met with heightened security a day after a would-be suicide bomber's rush-hour blast failed to cause the bloodshed he intended. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig) Seth Wenig



Associated Press
Wednesday, December 13, 2017

A Bangladeshi immigrant accused of setting off a pipe bomb in the New York subway system had his first court appearance on Wednesday via video from the hospital room where he is recovering from burns sustained in the blast.

Akayed Ullah said little during the hearing, which lasted a little over 10 minutes. He could be seen on the video laying on a hospital bed with his head propped up on a pillow and his body covered up to his neck in sheets. Two assistant public defenders, who stood beside his hospital bed, did not request bail.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Katharine H. Parker, sitting in a federal courthouse in Manhattan, communicated with Ullah via video shown on several monitors in the courtroom. She read him his rights as he nodded his head several times, acknowledging that he understood.

Ullah didn’t enter a plea but answered a few of the judge’s questions, including answering “I can see you” when she asked if he could hear her and “yes I do” when he was asked if he understood his rights.

Ullah, 27, is accused of detonating a pipe bomb that was strapped to his body in a pedestrian tunnel linking two busy subway stations. He was the only person seriously injured.

Prosecutors said that after his capture he told interrogators he was on a mission to punish the U.S. for attacking the Islamic State group.

Officials in Bangladesh said Wednesday that Ullah, who lived in Brooklyn but was married to a woman in Bangladesh, had asked his wife to read the writings and listen to the sermons of Moulana Jasimuddin Rahmani, the imprisoned leader of a banned group called Ansarullah Bangla Team.

The group has been linked to killings and attacks on secular academics and atheist bloggers in Bangladesh. Rahmani is serving time in prison for his involvement in the killings.

The wife was questioned in Bangladesh and told investigators Ullah discussed Rahman’s writings with her during his last visit home, said Monirul Islam, a top official of Bangladesh’s counterterrorism department.

Investigators found bomb-making materials in Ullah’s apartment. They said he carried out the attack after researching how to build a bomb a year ago and planned his mission for several weeks. The bomb was assembled in the past week using fragments of a metal pipe, a battery and a Christmas tree light bulb, along with the metal screws, authorities said.

Ullah had apparently hoped to die, taking as many innocent people as he could with him, prosecutors said. He was charged with providing material support to a terrorist group, use of a weapon of mass destruction and three bomb-related offenses. He could get up to life in prison if convicted.

Relatives and police said Ullah last visited his wife and newborn son in Bangladesh in September, after which he returned to the United States.

Counterterrorism officials questioned the wife and her parents before releasing her Tuesday night, Islam said, adding that investigators were questioning his brother-in-law and planned to question any known close associates.