United States President Donald Trump continues to advocate for the death penalty for the man accused of killing 8 people and injuring 12 more in an act of terror in New York City earlier this week.
The President also backed away from an earlier call for the suspect, Sayfullo Saipov, to be sent to Guantanamo Bay for his crimes. The Uzbek immigrant who arrived in the country legally in 2010 appeared in Court Wednesday in a wheelchair charged with one count of providing material support and resources for a foreign terrorist organisation and one count of violence and destruction.
A courtroom sketch shows the 29-year-old suspect seated in a wheelchair, cuffed and shackled after he was earlier hospitalized due to a police shot to the abdomen. Law enforcement has indicated the truck attack on cyclists and pedestrians was carried out according to instructions provided by ISIS online. Joon Kim is the ACTING United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York.
“In Mirandized interview statements with law enforcement last night and today, Saipov allegedly admitted that he was inspired to commit the attack by the ISIS videos he watched had been planning this attack for two months. He also admitted that he had rented a truck on October 22 to practice the turns he would make on his Halloween day attack.”
Five of the 8 deceased were a group of Argentinian tourists visiting the city to celebrate their graduation from High School 30 years earlier. Mateo Esteme is the Argentine Consul General to New York.
“It has been a blow that is difficult for me to explain and the sadness. The difficulties that they are facing it is something that indescribable. I am in contrast – in constant contact with them. I’ve been working with them, my authorities in Argentina, my government is on top of things. My priority in accordance with instructions of my president and my foreign minister and the rest is that we need to ensure the well-being of the family.”
President Trump has backtracked on calls to send the suspect to the military prison in Cuba’s Guantanamo Bay, but has also taken to twitter to call for the death penalty. U.S. Attorney Joon Kim explains that the investigation is still on-going.
“The investigation is very active and ongoing, and the indictment, we will see what counts are charged ultimately in the indictment, and some of them may be death-eligible. Some of them may have life prisons as the maximum, but the process by which the determination is made for counts that do have death as a maximum penalty, that goes through the process.”
This as vigils were held in both Argentina and New York with the iconic Empire State Building going dark Wednesday night in honour of the victims. NYPD Officer Ryan Nash brought the suspect down after the attack.
“I am grateful for the recognition we have received. I just want to thank my family and friends for their support, and all the responding officers who assisted me. However, due to the nature of the pending criminal case I cannot make any further public statement about the incident at this time.”
The prosecution’s complaint says the accused was inspired by ISIS videos on his cell-phone and began planning the attack almost a year ago.