New York, September 30: An Afghan immigrant has pleaded not guilty to plotting a terrorist attack on New York City using common chemicals.
Najibullah Zazi’s lawyer entered the plea Tuesday in a Brooklyn courtroom. Zazi was ordered held without bail during the brief hearing.
Officials claim Zazi and his co-conspirators bought beauty products in Colorado containing hydrogen peroxide and acetone – key ingredients for homemade bombs.
Prosecutors insist Zazi received explosives training from Al-Qaeda in Pakistan and planned to target mass transit in the New York City area.
The 24-year-old airport van driver and former coffee cart vendor has denied wrongdoing. Zazi’s next court date has been set for Dec 3.
Zazi has insisted on his innocence all along.
“Of course I have nothing to do with Al-Qaeda or any link with Al-Qaeda,” Zazi told reporters during the early stages of the investigation.
Prosecutors last week argued that that Zazi should be jailed indefinitely because, as an Afghan immigrant with ties to Pakistan, he could flee, and because he “poses a significant danger” to the community.
Evidence gathered – including bomb-making instructions found on his laptop computer – shows “Zazi remained committed to detonating an explosive device” until he was arrested, the letter said.
Authorities released a flurry of terrorism warnings for sports complexes, hotels and transit systems even while saying the plot was disrupted before it become an immediate threat. An official declined to comment further about the co-conspirators, and there have been no reports that the bomb-making materials have been recovered.