Fri, Nov 03, 2017 - Page 7 News List

NY truck attack suspect charged

SATISFIED:Sayfullo Saipov appeared in a Manhattan courtroom to hear the charges. Prosecutors said that he had told authorities he ‘felt good about what he had done’

AP, NEW YORK

A courtroom drawing by Elizabeth Williams shows defendant Sayfullo Saipov, right, addressing the court during his arraignment in Manhattan Federal Court on federal terrorism charges on Wednesday in New York City. Federal defense attorneys David Patton, center, and Sylvie Levine flank Saipov.

Photo: AP

US federal prosecutors on Wednesday brought terrorism charges against the Uzbek immigrant accused in the truck rampage that left eight people dead, saying he was spurred to attack by the Islamic State (IS) group’s online calls to action and picked Halloween because he knew more people would be out on the streets.

Even as he lay wounded in a hospital from police gunfire, Sayfullo Saipov asked to display the Islamic State group’s flag in his room and said “he felt good about what he had done,” prosecutors said in court papers.

Saipov was brought to court in a wheelchair to face the charges, which could result in the death penalty.

Meanwhile, the FBI said it wanted to question a second person from Uzbekistan — 32-year-old Mukhammadzoir Kadirov — and had found him.

A law enforcement official said Kadirov might not have a role in the case, but investigators became suspicious when they could not find him as he was one of Saipov’s few friends.

The official was not authorized to speak publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Saipov nodded his head repeatedly as he was read his rights in a brief court proceeding that he followed through a Russian interpreter.

His court-appointed lawyer, David Patton, said Saipov was in “a significant amount of pain,” and asked that he get wound care and a wheelchair or crutches in the federal lockup where he is being held without bail.

Outside of court, Patton called for fair treatment of his client.

“I hope, given all of the attention in this case and all of the attention that it’s sure to continue to receive, that everyone lets the judicial process play out,” he said. “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.”

Saipov, accused of driving the rented Home Depot pickup truck that barreled down a bike path near the World Trade Center memorial on Tuesday, was charged with providing material support to a terrorist group, and committing violence and destruction of motor vehicles, resulting in death.

Prosecutors said he had 90 videos and 3,800 photographs on one of his two cellphones, many of them IS-related pieces of propaganda, including images of prisoners being beheaded, shot or run over by a tank.

Saipov left behind knives and a note, in Arabic and English, that included Muslim religious references and said: “Islamic Supplication. It will endure,” FBI agent Amber Tyree said in court papers.

“It will endure” commonly refers to IS, Tyree said.

Questioned in his hospital bed, Saipov said he had been inspired by IS videos that he watched on his cellphone and began plotting an attack about a year ago, deciding to use a truck about two months ago, Tyree said.

During the last few weeks, Saipov searched the Internet for information on Halloween in New York City and for truck rentals, the agent said.

Saipov even rented a truck on Oct. 22 to practice making turns, and he initially hoped to get from the bike path across lower Manhattan to hit more pedestrians on the Brooklyn Bridge, Tyree said.

The attack killed five people from Argentina, one from Belgium and two Americans, authorities said. Twelve people were injured; nine remained hospitalized in serious or critical condition.

City officials said Sunday’s New York City Marathon, with 50,000 participants and about 2 million spectators, will go on as scheduled, with increased security.

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