Saipov rehearsed attack in Manhattan and practised route in truck
Nine days before the terrorist attack in New York, Sayfullo Saipov rented a truck to work out the route he would travel prior to his terror attack. Also, a few days before the attack, he drove an UBER car "several times as a rehearsal" along the route from New Jersey across the George Washington Bridge and down the west side of Manhattan, reports The New York Times, referring to the investigation.
The Southern District Prosecutor's Office of the State of New York has charged Saipov with providing financial support for the Islamic State terrorist group (as IS, ISIL or Daesh is banned in Russia as a terrorist organisation), the destruction of transport means and in the murder of eight people, reports Reuters.
Prosecutor Joon Kim said that according to the first point of the charges, Saipov faces life imprisonment, while in the second, the maximum is the death penalty. But the prosecutor's office has not decided yet whether it intends to ask for the death penalty. Later, Saipov, according to Kim, may be charged with additional crimes.
Earlier, US President Donald Trump wrote in his Twitter account that Saipov should be sentenced to death.
According to The New York Times, Saipov is to be tried in a civil court, although Trump previously said he does not exclude the possibility of sending the terrorist to prison for war criminals at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp, and the government thought about applying the status of a "enemy combatant" to Sayfullo - which is an individual threatening national security and directly involved in military operations, as part of the armed forces of one of the parties to an international armed conflict.
Sayfullo Saipov at a court session. Picture by Reuters
Saipov, as the newspaper writes, appeared at preliminary hearings in the federal court of Manhattan while sitting in a wheelchair. He was wearing a gray shirt and trousers, as his hands and feet were handcuffed, as five guards remained near Saipov. He used the services of a Russian-speaking translator.
According to Reuters, during a brief hearing Saipov did not ask to be released on bail and was placed in custody, although it is not yet clear where he is being held.
As the BBC reports, the accused earlier refused the right to not testify against himself, and admitted that he was inspired by the propaganda of the "Islamic State".
During interrogations at the hospital, he told investigators that he is pleased with the deed. Saipov also said that he planned an attack two months ago, and chose Halloween because there are more people on the streets on this day. He wanted to hang the ISIS flag on the truck, but decided not to attract attention. After the attack in the south-western end of Manhattan, he planned to continue across Manhattan and run over more passers-by on the Brooklyn Bridge, but was stopped after colliding with a school bus.
Sayfullo Saipov, the 29-year-old Uzbek citizen, was detained in New York on 31 October, and is suspected of committing a terrorist act. He was behind the wheel of a rented truck, which ran over random passers-by and bicyclists. Then, the truck crashed into a school bus, carrying children with disabilities and leaving one passenger in critical condition. The driver, shouting "Allahu Akbar!", jumped from the cabin while holding a paint gun and a pellet gun in his hands. Arriving at the scene, the police opened fire, wounding him in the abdomen. Saipov underwent an operation, and he has already been questioned. As a result of the terrorist attack, eight people were killed and 15 injured.