NYC car bomber sentenced to life in prison

[JURIST] A judge for the US District Court for the Southern District of New York [official website] on Tuesday sentenced Pakistani-born US citizen Faisal Shahzad [BBC profile] to life in prison [FBI press release] for attempting to detonate a car bomb in New York City's Times Square in May. Judge Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum found that Shahzad did not show any remorse [AFP report] for the incident and even expressed a desire to repeat the action if given the opportunity. Shahzad, who became an American citizen in April 2009, pleaded guilty [JURIST report] to 10 counts of terrorism and weapons charges [indictment, PDF; JURIST report] in June. Shahzad appeared in court in order to warn that attacks against the US had just begun. After becoming a citizen, Shahzad recieved financial support [CBS news report] and training from a branch of the Pakistani Taliban, known as the Tehrik-e-Taliban [GlobalSecurity backgrounder]. Cedarbaum expressed hope that the harsh sentence would service as a deterrent to individuals who would consider following in Shahzad's footsteps.

Shahzad's arrest and subsequent interrogation have helped shape debate in the US over the reading of the Miranda warnings to terror suspects. Shahzad was given Miranda warnings but waived them and continued talking with police [NYT report] for more than two weeks before finally meeting with counsel. Despite the information provided by Shahzad, lawmakers continue to push for more limitations on Miranda. In May, US Attorney General Eric Holder [official website] indicated that the Obama administration plans to ask Congress to enact legislation [JURIST report] allowing interrogators to question terror suspects for a longer period of time than currently allowed before informing them of their constitutional rights to remain silent and be represented by an attorney. Also in May, lawmakers introduced a bill [JURIST report] that, if passed, would strip US citizenship rights from those suspected of engaging in terrorism. In March, Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) proposed a law [JURIST report] that would require terror suspects to be stripped of their Miranda rights and to face military interrogation and trial. The proposed legislation, has been controversial [JURIST op-ed], with critics claiming its impact "would be a fundamental miscarriage of justice."

 

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