Trump calls for death penalty for New York attacker

  • 03/11/2017

President Donald Trump has again called for the Uzbek immigrant accused of killing eight people when he drove a truck down a New York City bike path to get 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," Mr Trump wrote in a pair of posts on Twitter on Thursday. "There is also something appropriate about keeping him in the home of the horrible crime he committed. Should move fast. DEATH PENALTY!"

Sayfullo Saipov told investigators he was inspired by Islamic State videos and began planning Tuesday's attack a year ago, according to a criminal complaint filed on Wednesday.

Saipov, 29, said "he felt good about what he had done" and asked for permission to display the IS flag in his hospital room

Earlier, on Wednesday night Mr Trump tweeted: "NYC terrorist was happy as he asked to hang ISIS flag in his hospital room. He killed 8 people, badly injured 12. SHOULD GET DEATH PENALTY!"

Saipov faces two charges, one of which carries the death penalty if the government chooses to seek it, Manhattan acting US Attorney Joon Kim said.

The charges are one count of violence and destruction of motor vehicles causing the deaths of eight people and one count of providing material support and resources to a foreign terrorist organisation.

The maximum penalty for the first is death; the maximum for the second life in prison, Mr Kim said.

The charging document said Saipov was particularly motivated by a video where Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi - the leader of Islamic State - exhorted Muslims in the United States and elsewhere to support the group's cause.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation said it had located another Uzbek man, Mukhammadzoir Kadirov, 32, as a person of interest in the attack.

Tuesday's assault was the deadliest in New York since the September 11, 2001, when more than 2600 people died in the World Trade Centre attack.

Five Argentine tourists, a Belgian, a New Yorker and a New Jersey man were killed in the attack.

Handcuffed, with his legs shackled and in a wheelchair, Saipov nodded his head repeatedly on Wednesday as he was read his rights in a brief court proceeding that he followed through a Russian interpreter.

He was ordered held without bail.

Prosecutors said Saipov had 90 videos and 3800 photos on one of his two mobile phones, many of them Islamic State-related pieces of propaganda, including images of prisoners being beheaded, shot or run over by a tank.