Boston Marathon Bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev Addresses Victims

June 24, 2015

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, condemned to death for carrying out a bombing attack near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, broke his long silence Wednesday, delivering an allocution to a packed Boston federal courtroom.

Here is Tsarnaev’s full statement, provided by the U.S. District Court:

Thank you, your Honor, for giving mean opportunity to speak. I would like to begin in the name of Allah, the exalted and glorious, the most gracious, the most merciful, “Allah” among the most beautiful names.

Any act that does not begin in the name of God is separate from goodness. This is the blessed month of Ramadan, and it is the month of mercy from Allah to his creation, a month to ask forgiveness of Allah and of his creation, a month to express gratitude to Allah and to his creation. It’s the month of reconciliation, a month of patience, a month during which hearts change. Indeed, a month of many blessings.

The Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, said if you have not thanked the people, you have not thanked God. So I would like to first thank my attorneys, those who sit at this table, the table behind me, and many more behind the scenes. They have done much good for me, for my family. They made my life the last two years very easy. I cherish their company. They’re lovely companions. I thank you.

I would like to thank those who took time out of their daily lives to come and testify on my behalf despite the pressure. I’d like to thank the jury for their service, and the Court.

The Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, said that if you do not — if you are not merciful to Allah’s creation, Allah will not be merciful to you, so I’d like to now apologize to the victims, to the survivors. Immediately after the bombing, which I am guilty of — if there’s any lingering doubt about that, let there be no more. I did do it along with my brother.

I learned of some of the victims. I learned their names, their faces, their age. And throughout this trial more of those victims were given names, more of those victims had faces, and they had burdened souls. Now, all those who got up on that witness stand and that podium related to us — to me — I was listening — the suffering that was and the hardship that still is, with strength and with patience and with dignity. Now, Allah says in the Qur’an that no soul is burdened with more than it can bear, and you told us just how unbearable it was, how horrendous it was, this thing I put you through. And I know that you kept that much. I know that there isn’t enough time in the day for you to have related to us everything.

I also wish that far more people had a chance to get up there, but I took them from you. Now, I am sorry for the lives that I’ve taken, for the suffering that I’ve caused you, for the damage that I’ve done. Irreparable damage. Now, I am a Muslim. My religion is Islam. The God I worship, besides whom there is no other God, is Allah.

And I prayed for Allah to bestow his mercy upon the deceased, those affected in the bombing and their families. Allah says in the Qur’an that with every hardship there is relief. I pray for your relief, for your healing, for your well-being, for your strength.

I ask Allah to have mercy upon me and my brother and my family. I ask Allah to bestow his mercy upon those present here today. And Allah knows best those deserving of his mercy. And I ask Allah to have mercy upon the ummah of Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him. Amin.

Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds.

Boston bomber to be formally sentenced to death

June 24, 2015
A US federal judge will formally sentence Boston bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to death at a court hearing today when the 21-year-old former student will be offered the chance to speak.
Tsarnaev kept silent throughout his trial, which ended with the jury sentencing him to death on 15 May.
Victims and their relatives are expected to address the court.
Judge George O’Toole will then officially hand down the sentence, reached unanimously by the 12-person jury.
Tsarnaev expressed little emotion throughout his 12-week trial despite harrowing testimony and grisly video footage.
Neither has he expressed any public remorse, although a prominent Catholic nun, Sister Helen Prejean, who visited him in jail, said that he did to her.
“No one deserves to suffer like they did,” she quoted him as saying.
The 15 April 2013 double bombings at the Boston Marathon were one of the worst assaults on American soil since the 11 September 2001 attacks.
Carried out by Tsarnaev and his older brother Tamerlan, the bombs killed 3 people and wounded 264 others, including 17 who lost limbs, near the finish line at the northeastern city’s popular marathon.
It took the jury more than 14 hours to choose death rather than life imprisonment for Tsarnaev on 6 counts.
It was a stinging defeat to the defence, who argued for a “lost kid” who would never have committed such horrors without being manipulated by his older brother.
The brothers went on the run and killed a police officer, before Tamerlan was shot dead and Tsarnaev arrested, 4 days later.
He was found, injured, in a grounded boat on which he had scrawled a bloody message defending the attacks as a means to avenge US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Only 3 out of 12 jurors said he acted under Tamerlan’s influence or that Tamerlan directed the bombings, while only 1 juror determined he was unlikely to commit or incite acts of violence while serving a life sentence.
The jury also rejected arguments from his defence team that he was the product of a chaotic family life, with a mentally ill father and his parents returning to Russia in 2012.
He is of Chechen descent, came to the United States as a child and took citizenship in 2012.
During the trial, government prosecutors argued Tsarnaev was a remorseless terrorist who deserved to die and declared that life imprisonment would be the “minimum” punishment.
The death sentence was possible only under federal law.
The state of Massachusetts outlawed capital punishment in 1947 and opinion polls had suggested residents favoured a life sentence for Tsarnaev.
Tsarnaev will then be flown to either America’s only “super-max” prison, ADX Florence, in Colorado or to the penitentiary at Terre Haute, Indiana where male inmates sit on federal death row.
Source: RTE, June 24, 2015

Federal prosecutors are in no mood for compromise in the Boston Marathon bombing case — at least not yet.

february 5, 2014 (newgazette)

Two brothers allegedly killed three people and wounded more than 260 others by planting bombs last April near the finish line at the Boston Marathon. Now the U.S. Justice Department said it intends to seek the death penalty if the surviving brother is convicted.

Given the sickening nature of the crime, the Justice Department decision in this high-profile case is completely understandable, even laudable. However, it’s still a long way to the execution chamber for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who was 19 when he was arrested shortly after the bombings.

His 26-year-old brother and alleged co-conspirator, Tamerlin Tsarnaev, was killed in a shoot-out with police. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was severely wounded when he engaged officers in gunplay, but survived to face trial.

The big question, however, is whether a trial actually will take place. Authorities say they have collected a mountain of evidence linking the brothers to the bombings, including photographic evidence showing Dzhokhar Tsarnaev placing a backpack believed to be filled with explosives along the marathon route near the finish line.

Given the evidentiary realities and potential death penalty, defense lawyers can be expected to pursue an agreement that allows him to plead guilty in exchange for a life sentence. That’s how cases like this have played out in the past when the Justice Department has opted to seek the ultimate punishment.

If the case does go to trial, defense lawyers can be expected to argue that the plot was conceived by the older brother and that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s life should be spared because of the subordinate role he played.

At the same time, however, the facts indicate that the bombings were carefully planned and carried out, that the aim was to inflict maximum damage on large numbers of innocent people and that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has not shown any remorse for his actions.

Both Muslims, the Tsarnaevs indicated they were motivated by religious reasons to strike out at America, and they allegedly did so in a way that attracted worldwide attention.

It is unclear when the case might get to trial, but if and when it does, the proceedings will be immeasurably complicated by the legalities surrounding the death penalty. Nonetheless, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder was correct when he said that “the nature of the conduct at issue and the resultant harm compel this decision.”