Last October, Sayfullo Saipov rented a truck and ran down dozens of New Yorkers on a bike path near the World Trade Center, killing eight and injuring 11 others.
Yesterday in court, Saipov interrupted the judge, who was in the process of setting his trial date, going off on a rant that defended ISIS and invoked Allah.
Speaking through an interpreter for about 10 minutes, Saipov said the decisions of a U.S. court were unimportant to him. He said he cared about “Allah” and the holy war being waged by the Islamic State.
At the prompting of Assistant U.S. Attorney Amanda Houle, Broderick interrupted Saipov to read him his rights, including that anything he said in court could be used against him.
“I understand you, but I’ m not worried about that at all,” Saipov said.
“So the Islamic State is not fighting for land, like some say, or like some say, for oil. They have one purpose, and they’re fighting to impose Sharia (Islamic law) on earth,” he said.
After Saipov spoke more, Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew Beaty interrupted him to object that the judge was letting Saipov make the kind of statement publicly that special restrictions placed on him in prison would otherwise prevent, including discussing “terrorist propaganda.”
The judge said he believed Saipov was nearing the end of his remarks and let him finish before warning him that he was unlikely to let him speak out in court again in a similar manner. Saipov, though, would be given a chance to testify if his case proceeds to trial and, if convicted, could speak at sentencing.
Saipov thanked the judge for letting him speak but added at one point: “I don’t accept this as my judge.”
What is with this judge? Bending over backward to accommodate a terrorist as he spouts propaganda was totally unnecessary. He could have cut him off and removed him from the court if he wanted, especially since there was no earthly reason for him to speak in the first place.
Saipov’s attack on October 31 of last year was premeditated. He drove a rental truck a mile and half down a bike path, mowing down pedestrians and riders alike. Prosecutors won’t be ready to try him until next year.
Prosecutors had been seeking an April 2019 trial date. Houle said the families of the dead and the dozens who were injured deserve a “prompt and firm trial date.”
“The victims here are anxious now when that trial is going to be,” she said. “The public deserves a speedy trial, and the surviving victims deserve to know when that trial is going to be.”
Defense lawyers have said the government should accept a guilty plea and a sentence of life in prison without parole to provide victims’ families and the public with closure.
David Patton, a lawyer for Saipov, said he would need extra time to make legal challenges to the charges if death is sought. He also cited the difficulty of gathering information for the defense case overseas and in the United States.
Is this a case that should be tried by a military tribunal? That Khalid Sheikh Mohammed has been in U.S. custody for 13 long years and hasn’t had to answer for his masterminding the September 11 attacks is a travesty. Both the military and civilian authorities are terrified of world opinion if tribunals start handing down death penalties, so KSM and terrorist scum like Saipov are still breathing while the families of their victims still mourn.
Give the terrorists due process, yes. Then give them the hot shot. Every breath they take is an insult to the families of those who lost their lives for no other reason than to service a warped and murderous ideology.