Sunday 22 October 2017

Boston bomber is charged as 'confession' note revealed

Boston Marathon Bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev
Boston Marathon Bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev

Jon Swaine New York

The surviving Boston marathon bomber said he was forced by US foreign policy to attack Americans as he could not see "such evil go unpunished", authorities said as they unveiled a criminal indictment against him.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev criticised the US for killing "our innocent civilians" in a confession note allegedly written on the inside of a boat where he hid from police in the hours after the bombings, which killed three spectators and injured more than 200.

"We Muslims are one body," the 19-year-old, whose family hails from Chechnya, is alleged to have written.

"You hurt one, you hurt us all. Stop killing our innocent people, we will stop."

While noting: "I don't like killing innocent people" and that this was ordinarily "forbidden in Islam", America's military actions meant his attack was an exceptional case, he is said to have claimed.

BACKPACKS

The 30-count indictment, from a federal grand jury, charges Mr Tsarnaev with using weapons of mass destruction and killing four people, including a police officer who was shot dead at the start of a frenzied last stand by the teenager and his older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev.

The brothers are alleged to have placed backpacks containing pressure-cooker bombs among crowds near the finish line of the marathon in April.

Tamerlan, who was 26, was killed later during a standoff with police.

It is claimed that when they set out that night, the brothers had five home-made explosive devices, a Ruger P95 9mm semi-automatic handgun, a machete and a hunting knife in their possession.

The indictment also alleges that Mr Tsarnaev downloaded Islamist propaganda from the internet, including one article written by Anwar al-Awlaki, the American-born cleric who became a leader in al-Qa'ida in Yemen, where he was killed by a US drone strike in September 2011.

Mr Tsarnaev is due to appear in the federal court in Boston next month to be arraigned.

Some 17 of the charges against him carry a potential death sentence.

Mr Tsarnaev was indicted on charges including bombing a place of public use, resulting in death.

Many of the charges were brought against him in April, but new charges cover the killing of a police officer and the carjacking of a motorist during a getaway attempt that left Mr Tsarnaev's brother, Tamerlan, dead.

Three people were killed and more than 260 injured in twin explosions near the finish line of the marathon in Massachusetts on April 15.

Authorities said each brother placed a knapsack containing a shrapnel-packed pressure cooker bomb near the marathon finish line.

The bombs went off within seconds of one another.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev was killed following a shootout with police four days later, and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was captured hiding in a boat in a suburban backyard.

The indictment says he wrote a message on the inside of the boat that said, among other things: "The US government is killing our innocent civilians", "I can't stand to see such evil go unpunished" and "We Muslims are one body, you hurt one you hurt us all."

EXTREMISTS

The Tsarnaev brothers had roots in the turbulent Russian regions of Dagestan and Chechnya, which have become recruiting grounds for Islamic extremists.

They had been living in the United States for about a decade.

The indictment makes no mention of any larger conspiracy beyond the brothers and no mention of any direct overseas contacts with extremists.

Instead, it suggests the internet played a central role in the suspects' radicalisation. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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