Monday 25 September 2017

Boston marathon suspect charged

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev faces charges including using a weapon of mass destruction and bombing a place of public use, resulting in death (FBI/AP)
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev faces charges including using a weapon of mass destruction and bombing a place of public use, resulting in death (FBI/AP)
Emergency workers at the scene of the attack at the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon (AP)

A US grand jury has returned a 30-count indictment against the surviving suspect in the deadly Boston marathon bombings, with many charges carrying the possibility of life in prison or the death penalty.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, was indicted on charges including using a weapon of mass destruction and 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 Tsarnaev's older brother, Tamerlan, dead.

Three people were killed and more than 260 injured in twin explosions near the finish line of the marathon on April 15. Authorities said each brother placed a backpack 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."

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' radicalization.

Some time before the attack, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev downloaded on to his computer the summer 2010 issue of Inspire, an online English-language magazine published by al Qaida, according to the indictment. The issue detailed how to make bombs from pressure cookers, explosive powder extracted from fireworks and lethal shrapnel.

He also downloaded various pieces of extremist Muslim literature, including one that advocates "violence designed to terrorise the perceived enemies of Islam, among other things," the indictment said. One tract included a foreword by Anwar al-Awlaki, an American propagandist for al Qaida who was killed in a US drone strike, federal prosecutors said.

The indictment confirms that Tamerlan Tsarnaev bought 48 fireworks mortar shells containing explosive powder from a fireworks store. It also disclosed that he used the internet to order electronic components that could be used in making bombs. The court papers also confirm that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev inadvertently contributed to his brother's death by running him over during a shootout with police.

At the same time the federal indictment was announced, Massachusetts authorities brought a 15-count state indictment against Dzhokhar Tsarnaev over the police officer's slaying and the police shootout.

Press Association

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