Bomb suspect too ill to be questioned

Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was still in hospital this morning, in a serious condition and under heavy guard.

Bomb suspect too ill to be questioned

Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was still in hospital this morning, in a serious condition and under heavy guard.

He was apparently in no shape to be interrogated – as investigators tried to establish the motive for the deadly attack and the scope of the plot.

People across the Boston area breathed easier after the 19-year-old college student was pulled, wounded and bloody, from a boat in a Watertown backyard.

His capture came at the end of a tense day that began with his 26-year-old brother, Tamerlan, dying in a gun battle with police.

There was no immediate word on when Tsarnaev might be charged and what those charges would be. The twin bombings on Monday killed three people and wounded more than 180.

The most serious charge available to prosecutors would be the use of a weapon of mass destruction to kill people, which carries a possible death sentence. Massachusetts does not have the death penalty.

President Barack Obama said there are many unanswered questions about the bombing, including whether the Tsarnaev brothers – ethnic Chechens from southern Russia who had been in the US for about a decade – had help from others.

US officials said an elite interrogation team would question the teenager without first advising him of his right to remain silent and the right to a lawyer.

This exception to issuing the warning known as the Miranda rule usually given to criminal suspects is allowed on a limited basis when the public may be in immediate danger, such as instances in which bombs are planted and ready to go off.

The American Civil Liberties Union expressed concern about invoking the exception.

Executive Director Anthony Romero said the exception applies only when there is a continued threat to public safety and is “not an open-ended exception” to the Miranda rule.

The public defender’s office in Massachusetts has agreed to represent Tsarnaev once he is charged.

Miriam Conrad said he should have a lawyer appointed as soon as possible because there are “serious issues regarding possible interrogation”.

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick said yesterday that Tsarnaev was in a serious but stable condition and was probably unable to communicate.

Tsarnaev was at Boston’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Centre, where 11 victims of the bombing were still being treated.

“I, and I think all of the law enforcement officials, are hoping for a host of reasons the suspect survives,” Mr Patrick said after a ceremony before a baseball game at Fenway Park to honour the victims and survivors of the attack.

“We have a million questions, and those questions need to be answered.”

The all-day manhunt on Friday brought the Boston area to a near standstill and put people on edge across the metropolitan area.

The break came around nightfall when a homeowner in Watertown saw blood on his boat, pulled back the tarpaulin and saw a bloody Dzhokhar Tsarnaev hiding inside.

After an exchange of gunfire, police negotiated his surrender and he was seized and taken away in an ambulance.

Raucous celebrations erupted in and around Boston, with chants of “USA! USA!”

Residents flooded the streets in relief four days after the two pressure-cooker bombs packed with nails and other shrapnel went off.

“Tonight, our family applauds the entire law enforcement community for a job well done, and trust that our justice system will now do its job,” said the family of eight-year-old Martin Richard, who died in the bombing.

Lu Lingzi, a 23-year-old student from China, and Krystle Campbell, a 29-year-old restaurant worker, were also killed.

Mr Obama convened the National Security Council yesterday for a 90-minute meeting to discuss the investigation and counterterrorism efforts.

The White House said the president emphasised the need to keep gathering intelligence to answer lingering questions about the terrorist attack.

Investigators have not offered a motive for the Boston attack. But in interviews with officials and relatives and acquaintances of the Tsarnaev brothers, a picture has emerged of Tamerlan as someone embittered toward the US and increasingly vehement in his Muslim faith.

The Russian FSB intelligence security service told the FBI in 2011 about information that Tamerlan was a follower of radical Islam.

The FBI said that it interviewed Tamerlan and relatives, and did not find any domestic or foreign terrorism activity.

The bureau said it looked into his telephone and online activity, his travels and his associations with others.

More than 50 victims of the bombing remain in hospital, three in critical condition.

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