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US cleric pleads guilty to lying to FBI about New York City subway bomb plot

[JURIST] Imam Ahmad Afzali pleaded guilty Thursday in the US District Court for the Eastern District of New York [official website] to charges of lying to FBI agents in connection with a plot to detonate explosives in the New York City subway system. Afzali faces up to six months in prison [AP report] and must leave the country within 90 days after being released from prison. Afzali, a New York City cleric, was arrested in September for tipping off terror suspects that the FBI was gathering intelligence on them. Sentencing is set for April 8 [Reuters report].

Last month, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website] announced superseding indictments [JURIST report] against Adis Mendunjanin and Zaerein Ahmedzay, two men accused of planning to bomb subways in New York City. Mendunjanin previously pleaded not guilty [JURIST report] on similar charges. Ahmedzay and Mendunjanin are accused of operating alongside Najibullah Zazi [JURIST news archive], who pleaded guilty [JURIST report] last month to terrorism charges for planning the subway attacks. Afzali, while working as an informant for the FBI, told Zazi agents were asking about him. Afzali claims that he did not realize that the extent or nature of Zazi's involvement.

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