Bombing suspect will not be treated as ′enemy combatant′ | News | DW | 22.04.2013
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Bombing suspect will not be treated as 'enemy combatant'

The White House has said the surviving Boston Marathon bombing suspect will be prosecuted through the US criminal justice system. He is charged with using a weapon of mass destruction and may face the death penalty.

One week after the fatal blasts went off near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was charged with the federal crime of using a weapon of mass destruction. A conviction could lead to the death penalty. The twin bomb attacks at the marathon killed three people and injured 180 others.

The White House on Monday announced that Tsarnaev would be tried through the US justice system, as opposed to being treated as an enemy combatant.

"He will not be treated as an enemy combatant," White House spokesman Jay Carney said on Monday. "We will prosecute this terrorist through our civilian system of justice. Under US law, United States citizens cannot be tried in military commissions."

If Tsarnaev had been treated as an enemy combatant, investigators would have had broader legal permissions regarding how he was questioned.

Tsarnaev was charged while still in his hospital bed recovering from last week's shootout and manhunt that led to his apprehension.

International links

The 19-year-old ethnic Chechen college student, who became a naturalized US citizen, has been unable to speak due to injuries to his throat.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's brother, 26-year-old Tamerlan, was killed last week during a shootout with police. Tamerlan is believed to have been Dzhokhar's accomplice.

The Tsarnaev brothers come from a Chechen community in largely Muslim Kyrgyzstan. They moved with their parents to Dagestan in 2001, which is a republic of Russia in the North Caucasus region.

Paying tribute to victims

Meanwhile on Monday, Bostonians took time for a moment of silence, paying tribute to the bombing victims.

Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick asked residents to observe a moment of silence at 2:50 pm local time Monday (1850 UTC), the time the first of the two bombs exploded near the finish line.

Elsewhere in Massachusetts, family and friends of bombing victim Krystle Campbell gathered in the town of Medford for the 29-year-old restaurant worker's funeral. Hundreds of mourners gathered to bid her farewell.

A memorial for another of the victims, 23-year-old Lu Lingzi, was planned for Monday night at Boston University. Lu was a graduate student from China.

tm/mz (AP, AFP, dpa, Reuters)

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