A man convicted of plotting to blow up Manhattan synagogues in 2011 was sentenced Friday to 10 years behind bars, marking the first time a person has been convicted and sentenced on state terror charges. NY1's Dean Meminger filed the following report.
Ahmed Ferhani is the first person convicted and sentenced under New York State's anti-terror laws put in place after the September 11th attacks.
Ferhani admitted to plotting to bomb a synagogue in Manhattan. On Friday, he was sentenced to 10 years in prison.
"First, I would like to sincerely apologize to my family for having to go through this whole ordeal," Ferhani said. "They were humiliated, attacked and harassed on a daily basis over the last two years."
Ferhani and Mohamed Mamdouh were arrested by the NYPD in May 2011 after a lengthy investigation involving undercover officers who posed as terrorists.
Ferhani, who was living in Queens, pleaded guilty to buying a grenade and guns for the attack.
In court, he suggested that he wasn't an evil person.
"All of the government has tried to depict me in the worst light," he said. "Clearly, my family, my friends, my co-workers and the people I have come across in my lifetime know that is far from who I am."
"I understand that nobody was actually hurt as a result of any misconduct," said Judge Michael Obus. "But, of course, the conduct was potentially damaging, certainly to property, and potentially to people, and to the fabric of society when people are terrorized by the kinds of ways that were plotted here."
Despite the guilty plea, defense attorneys still argued that Ferhani was entrapped by the NYPD.
"What he is going to be doing for the rest of his life is paying for the crimes of the New York Police Department, paying for the abuse of discretion that the commissioner, the Bloomberg, the district attorney's office has engaged in," said defense attorney Lamis Deek. "And he is the one that is suffering."
After serving his 10 years behind bars, Ferhani will be deported back to Algeria.
"I have always shown strength in the face of adversity," Ferhani said. "And despite the pain and humiliation that has been caused, my spirit has not been broken and will never be."
The case against co-defendant Mohamed Mamdouh is still pending.