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US authorities preparing chargesheet against Boston bomber

23 April, 2013

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WASHINGTON: US authorities are preparing a chargesheet against Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in the Boston Marathon blasts, even as he battled for life in a highly secure city hospital and was unable to speak due to serious throat injury.

Federal authorities said the chargesheet against Dzhokhar could be filed early next week by the US Attorney General.

Investigating agencies, including the FBI, the Boston Police, are busy preparing the chargesheet against 19-year-old Dzhokhar, as a senior police official today said they have enough evidence to nail down the suspect.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, was pronounced dead on Friday after suffering shrapnel and bullet wounds in a gunfight with police, while his brother Dzhokhar was later arrested in connection with the bombings that killed three people.

Those involved in preparing the chargesheet said Dzhokhar, who was arrested on Friday night, would be charged with terrorism and state murder charges. The Boston Mayor had told reporters earlier that he could be charged as early as Sunday, but that did not happen.

Boston City Police chief Ed Davis said the suspect is in no condition to be interrogated at this point in time.

"He's progressing, though, and we're monitoring the situation carefully," he said. "Despite a serious throat wound preventing him from speaking, the surviving Boston Marathon bombing suspect is beginning to respond to questions from investigators," NBC news said quoting unnamed federal officials.

"He was responding to questions mostly in writing because of the throat wound, according to the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity. The suspect remains in serious condition," the news channel said.

"Investigators are asking about other cell members and other unexploded bombs," ABC news reported.

"Officials did not reveal further details on what they are asking or what his responses are," CBS news said.

However, there was no official word on the health status of Dzhokhar.

"Information we have is that there was a shot to the throat, and it's questionable whether - when and whether he'll be able to talk again it. It doesn't mean he can't communicate but, right now, I think he's in the condition where we can't get any information from him at all," Senator Dan Coats, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, told the ABC.

The government has invoked public safety exception in this case, which allows investigators to question the suspect without reading his Miranda rights and without a lawyer present.

"Even though he's a citizen. There have been exceptions to this before with the public-safety issue, of course, on Miranda rights but, also, the fact that his travel back to his hometown - it was a Muslim area. It could have been radicalised back then," the Senator said.

"We ought to keep that option open until we find out whether or not there was a connection to terrorist groups."

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel yesterday said that so far there is no intelligence information that the two brothers had links with any terrorist organisations. At the same time he noted that it would be too early to arrive at any conclusion.

Appearing on various Sunday talk shows, both the Boston Mayor and the Boston City Police Chief said that so far all the evidences indicate that they are lone wolves. "All of the information that I have they acted alone, these two individuals, the brothers," Mayor Thomas Menino told the ABC news.

Senator Dianne Feinstein, Chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said Dzhokhar is likely to be sentenced to death.

"There is ample evidence, fingerprinted, I understand, direct testimony from one of the people that had his legs blown off, that he recognised him. They admitted to the driver of the car that they hijacked that they were the bombers," she told the CNN in an interview.

"So I think there's going to be a great deal of evidence put together to be able to convict him, and it should likely be a death penalty case under federal law," she said.


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