Trump defends decision to charge NYC terror suspect in federal court

Elias Hubbard
November 5, 2017

WASHINGTON-President Donald Trump weighed in on the arrest of terror suspect Sayfullo Saipov, tweeting Thursday that sending him to the Guantanamo Bay detention facility would take too long and that he should ultimately receive the death penalty.

Saipov appeared in court Wednesday in a wheelchair with his hands and feet shackled.

Saipov was on Thursday charged with terrorism offences by United States prosecutors who said he chose to carry out the attack "to inflict maximum damage against civilians".

Before a Cabinet meeting Wednesday at the White House, Trump said he would consider sending Saipov to "Gitmo" - the nickname for Guantanamo.

The first count reportedly carries a maximum penalty of life in prison, but the second makes Saipov a candidate for capital punishment if he's convicted and if the government chooses to seek the death penalty for him.

Saipov did waive his right to remain silent or have an attorney present when he agreed to speak to investigators from his bed at Bellevue Hospital in Manhattan, according to the criminal complaint.

Earlier, on Wednesday night Trump tweeted: "NYC terrorist was happy as he asked to hang ISIS flag in his hospital room".

Federal prosecutors say Saipov was "consumed by hate and a twisted ideology".

Separately, the Federal Bureau of Investigation was questioning people who might have information about his actions before the attack, including a second Uzbek man.

He added: "There is also something appropriate about keeping him in the home of the frightful crime he committed".

President Donald Trump called on Thursday for the man charged over the NY truck attack to be executed, after investigators said he confessed to being inspired by Islamic State group propaganda.

President Donald Trump is calling for the death penalty against the man charged with mowing down pedestrians and bikers in New York City, raising the question of whether his rhetoric could imperil prosecutors' efforts in the case.

"I promise you that how we treat Mr. Saipov in this judicial process will say a lot more about us than it will say about him", Patton said.

Trump reiterated his pro-death penalty position Thursday morning, and added that he no longer supports moving the accused attacker to the prison at Guantanamo Bay because it could "take much longer".

"Honestly, they don't want to do what's right for our country", he said of the Democrats.

As a permanent legal resident of the United States Saipov also has virtually the same rights as a USA citizen, they said.

Five of the eight people killed in the attack were part of a group from Argentina celebrating the 30th anniversary of their high school graduation.

Trump also has called for eliminating the 1990s visa lottery program that Saipov used to come to the U.S.in 2010.

Columbia Law professor Matthew Waxman served in the Bush administration and specifically worked on Guantanamo Bay detention, and largely agreed with Vladeck that detaining Saipov would probably accomplish more harm than good.

The attack was the deadliest in New York City since September 11, 2001, when suicide hijackers crashed two jetliners into the World Trade Center, killing more than 2,600 people.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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