The surviving suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings has been charged in his hospital bed with using a weapon of mass destruction after reportedly admitting to a role in the bombings Sunday before he was informed of his rights to remain silent and have an attorney present. Authorities had delayed reading Dzhokhar Tsarnaev his rights under a controversial Justice Department public safety exception, but they were finally read to him Monday, along with the charges against him, as he lay recovering from multiple gunshot wounds. Tsarnaev was found hiding in a boat in Watertown in a residential backyard late Friday after a bloody standoff that killed his brother, Tamerlan. The pair are accused of carrying out last Monday’s bombings that killed three people and wounded more than 170. Republican lawmakers had said Tsarnaev should be held as an enemy combatant, a call White House Press Secretary Jay Carney dismissed Monday.
Jay Carney: “He will not be treated as an enemy combatant. We will prosecute this terrorist through our civilian system of justice. Under U.S. law, United States citizens cannot be trialed — tried, rather, in military commissions. And it is important to remember that since 9/11 we have used the federal court system to convict and incarcerate hundreds of terrorists. The effective use of the criminal justice system has resulted in the interrogation, conviction and detention of both U.S. citizens and non-citizens for acts of terrorism committed inside the United States and around the world.”
In news from Iraq, at least 26 people have died following clashes between Sunni demonstrators and security forces who raided a protest camp near Kirkuk earlier today. Military sources told Reuters six troops and 20 demonstrators were killed.
A U.S. Army sergeant has pleaded guilty to fatally shooting five fellow servicemembers at a combat stress clinic at Camp Liberty in Baghdad. The 2009 shooting rampage was among the worst acts of violence by a U.S. servicemember against other soldiers in the Iraq War. During a military court hearing Monday, Sgt. John Russell said he was in a “rage” at the time of the shooting and “wanted the pain to stop.” Russell reportedly suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, among other mental health problems. He faces up to life in prison.
In Syria, opposition activists are accusing pro-government forces of killing up to 500 people, many of them civilians, during a nearly week-long campaign in a suburb of the capital Damascus. They said more than 100 deaths have already been documented. If verified, the incident would be among the bloodiest since the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad began two years ago.
In New York City, 12 people were arrested Monday at a die-in on the steps of the federal courthouse in response to the more than two-month-long hunger strike by prisoners at Guantánamo. The military has admitted more than half of Guantánamo’s 166 prisoners are on hunger strike, with 16 being force-fed, a tactic widely viewed as torture. Defense lawyers say nearly all prisoners are on hunger strike. On Monday, protesters with the group Witness Against Torture wore orange jumpsuits and lay on the steps of the courthouse holding signs with the names of Guantánamo prisoners who have died waiting for release. Democracy Now! spoke to Jeremy Varon and Bill Ofenloch.
Jeremy Varon: “We’re here today at the federal courthouse in New York City in response to the hunger strike that’s currently taking place at Guantánamo. More than half the prisoners at the camp are on hunger strike, some since February 6, protesting their indefinite detention without charge or trial.”
Bill Ofenloch: We’re trying to get Guantánamo closed and the prisoners who are free to be released to actually be released. The majority of them are there without any charges, and they’re cleared for release.”
An apparent car bomb attack outside the French embassy in the Libyan capital Tripoli has wounded two guards. No one has claimed responsibility for the blast so far.
The great folk singer Richie Havens has died at the age of 72. He recorded more than two dozen albums over multiple decades and was renowned for his passionate guitar stylings and powerful anthems of racial justice, peace and freedom. In 1969, his opening performance at Woodstock Music Festival became legendary when he improvised his song “Freedom” with the old spiritual “Motherless Child.”
Richie Haven: “Sometimes I feel like a motherless child, a long way from my home. Yeah, yeah, Lord. Singing, freedom, freedom, freedom, freedom, freedom, freedom.”
Richie Havens died of a heart attack at his home in New Jersey on Monday.