Trump wants death penalty for NY attacker
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by Thomas Urbain/ Jennie Matthew
President Donald Trump called Thursday for the man charged over the New York truck attack to be executed, as a picture emerged of an Islamic State group sympathizer radicalized after struggling with life in America.
Trump had said he was considering sending Sayfullo Saipov, 29, to the military’s notorious Guantanamo Bay detention center, but backed off the idea in a blast of early morning tweets calling for the death penalty.
“Would love to send the NYC terrorist to Guantanamo but statistically that process takes much longer than going through the Federal system,” Trump tweeted.
“There is also something appropriate about keeping him in the home of the horrible crime he committed. Should move fast. DEATH PENALTY!”
Saipov appeared in a New York courtroom Wednesday on terrorism charges one day after he allegedly drove a rented pickup truck down a mile-long stretch of bike path in Manhattan, where children and their parents were preparing to celebrate Halloween.
Eight people were killed, five of them friends from Argentina celebrating 30 years since their high school graduation.
Twelve other people were wounded in the worst attack in New York since the September 11, 2001 Al-Qaeda hijackings. It ended when police shot Saipov in the abdomen.
Federal prosecutors have announced two charges so far: provision of material support and resources to a designated foreign terrorist organization, and violence and destruction of motor vehicles.
The maximum punishment is life imprisonment, but attorneys could potentially seek the death penalty. A capital punishment case would be extremely rare in New York.
The charging document said Saipov, an Uber driver and father-of-three who emigrated in 2010, confessed to acting in the name of IS and “felt good about what he had done,” even demanding to hang an IS flag in his hospital room.
He first planned an attack in the United States a year ago, before settling two months ago on a vehicle strike, choosing Halloween deliberately in a bid to kill as many people as possible, the complaint alleged. (AFP)