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WORLD | 14-03-2023 14:26

New York truck attacker escapes death penalty

Sayfullo Saipov, who killed eight people in a truck attack in New York six years ago, will spend the rest of his life in jail after jurors were unable to agree on the death penalty Monday.

An Uzbek man who killed eight people in a truck attack in New York six years ago, including five childhood friends from Argentina, will spend the rest of his life in jail after jurors were unable to agree on the death penalty.

Prosecutors had argued for capital punishment for Sayfullo Saipov, who was convicted in January of several murder and terrorism charges over the attack on October 31, 2017.

But Saipov on Monday received a life term without the possibility of parole after the jury in Manhattan federal court failed to unanimously agree on the death sentence.

Saipov, now 35, drove a rented pickup truck down a Manhattan bike path as New Yorkers prepared to celebrate Halloween.

The dead included a group of five childhood friends from Rosario who were enjoying a trip abroad. At least 12 other people were injured before police shot Saipov in the abdomen. 

It was the deadliest attack in New York since the September 11, 2001 al-Qaeda hijackings brought down the World Trade Center buildings.

Saipov, who moved to the United States in 2010, claimed to have acted in the name of the Islamic State jihadist group, which described him as one of its "soldiers."

His trial was the first federal prosecution during Joe Biden's presidency in which the Justice Department (DoJ) sought capital punishment.

That was despite Biden's opposition to the death penalty and a moratorium on all federal executions, announced by Attorney General, Merrick Garland in July 2021.

Experts had suggested it showed that the Justice Department appeared to favor capital punishment for terror offenses only.

If Saipov had received the death penalty, then it could only have been carried out if the moratorium was lifted or under a future president.

In the United States, most executions are carried out by states, not the federal government.

New York has abolished the death penalty at the state level, last executing a defendant in 1963.

 

– TIMES/AFP

 

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