The Associated Press

Tsarnaev Wants Prison Restrictions Lifted

BOSTON — Lawyers for Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev asked a judge Wednesday to lift restrictions placed on him in prison, arguing that the conditions are overly harsh, have left him nearly totally isolated and are impairing their ability to defend him.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the suspect at large, sought by police in connection to the Boston Marathon bombings. (FBI)

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev (FBI)

Tsarnaev’s lawyers said in a motion filed in court that he has been confined to his cell except for visits from them and has “very limited access” to a small outdoor enclosure.

Tsarnaev, 20, is accused of building and planting bombs near the finish line of the April 15 marathon, killing three people and injuring more than 260. Authorities say he and his older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, ethnic Chechens from Russia who emigrated to the United States as children, planned and carried out the attack to retaliate against the U.S. for its involvement in Muslim countries.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev was killed four days after the marathon following a gun battle with police. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was found wounded and hiding in a boat in a backyard in Watertown. Authorities said he had scrawled anti-American messages on the inside of the boat, including “The U.S. Government is killing our innocent civilians” and “We Muslims are one body, you hurt one you hurt us all.”

In their motion, Tsarnaev’s lawyers said “Special Administrative Measures” were imposed on their client beginning in August, at the request of U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz and the approval of U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.

“SAMs,” as they are known, are used in terrorism cases and other high-profile cases when authorities allege there is “substantial risk” that a defendant’s communications or contacts with people “could result in death or serious bodily injury” to others. The special restrictions were placed on shoe bomb suspect Richard Reid, “American Taliban” John Walker Lindh and other terror suspects.

The measures restrict access to the mail, the media, the telephone and visitors.

Tsarnaev’s lawyers say prosecutors have presented no evidence that the special restrictions are needed in Tsarnaev’s case.

“The government has not alleged that Mr. Tsarnaev has done or said anything since his arrest to commit violence, incite violence, or engage in communications that pose a security threat,” his lawyers argued in the filing.

They also said the special measures limit Tsarnaev’s interaction with people who are helping the defense and restrict the communications and other activities of the defense team.

A spokeswoman for Ortiz did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

In a memo outlining the factual basis for the restrictions, prosecutors said Tsarnaev “reaffirmed his commitment to jihad and expressed hope that his actions would inspire others to engage in violent jihad” while he was being interviewed by the FBI after he was captured.

“There is no indication that Tsarnaev’s intentions have changed since then,” prosecutors said in the memo, which was included in the defense motion.

The government also notes that Tsarnaev has gained “widespread notoriety” since his arrest and has received nearly 1,000 pieces of unsolicited mail.

His lawyers said Tsarnaev has not responded to any of the mail, which they said is not “jihadist” in nature, but instead consists almost entirely of letters and cards from people “who believe he is innocent and people urging him to repent and convert to Christianity.”

The motion was submitted by federal public defenders Miriam Conrad, William Fick and Timothy Watkins, and San Diego attorney Judge Clarke, a death penalty specialist. Conrad declined to comment on the filing.

Tsarnaev’s lawyers argue that the special measures allow them to share information they obtain from Tsarnaev among themselves by phone or in person for the purpose of preparing his defense, but prohibit them from sharing that information by mail “under any circumstances for any purpose.”

“It is … completely impractical for members of the defense team to keep track of the means by which they have learned individual pieces of information from Mr. Tsarnaev,” they argue.

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on
  • jupe77

    F that. He deserves all the restrictions possible.

    • fun bobby

      innocent until proven guilty in a court of law

      • freonpsandoz

        True, but there is strong evidence against him and it is appropriate to take measures that might be necessary to keep him from passing information to others who might be planning similar crimes.

        • fun bobby

          Baloney, this kid has no useful information for anyone. its fine to surveil him like when hulk Hogan’s son was in jail or when Zimmerman was in jail and their family members implicated themselves in crimes. in fact that would be a great way to see if he does know anyone or anything else of use. this is simply cruel and unusual punishment for a man who has been convicted of no crime. if they have so much evidence they should try him and convict him of a crime in a court of law. if we change our principles to deal with these people they win

      • rich4321

        He’s guilty as hell!

        • fun bobby

          oh? when was the trial in a court of law? if that’s the case then it should be easy to try and convict him. what are they waiting for?

          • Lawrence

            You are right according to law. BUT where is the common sense.

            We have to go through this long drawn out process, when we all know what happened. And if he is saying he’s innocent, I wonder what excuse he has, hiding in a boat bleeding from gun shot wounds while armed and dangerous.

            Not to mention the rest of the evidence.

            Yes, you’re right, we have to go through the process, but for me, under the circumstances, I don’t give a dam about him or how “harsh” he feels he’s being treated.

          • fun bobby

            i don’t think being shot by the police is a great piece of evidence for ones guilt but one would think that it would not be so difficult to try and convict this guy if they have so much evidence. these high profile cases are absurd with the amount of resources they use. I guess after newtown they called in every investigator in the stat eto process the crime scene. for what? the suspect is dead. how hard is it to convict a dead man?

            “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ 45 “He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

    • waraji

      Jupe77, with your attitude, you would never get chosen for any jury, thank goodness.

      • fun bobby

        one would hope

  • fun bobby

    where is the ACLU on this?

  • Ronald Jon Guy

    Put him in population; justice will be SERVED!

    • Skroob

      Couldn’t help but chuckle!
      Ok guy, want to be treated like the rest of em? Here are your 3 new roommates. In three hours (if you survive) you will get your time in the yard you wanted, where you get to meet even more new “friends”. Good luck f*cker!!!

      • fun bobby

        that would be nice but they don’t even do that to pedophiles in MA they get their own prison in Gardner

    • rich4321

      Send him to Harvard Square, let the public stone him to death!

      • fun bobby

        after a conviction in a court of law. perhaps if we change the law now before his trial to allow the use of the stocks and it passes constitutional muster that would be fine

  • LibelFreeZone

    “Tsarnaev Wants Prison Restrictions Lifted”

    And I want a pony. Pfffft!

  • freonpsandoz

    Boo hoo!

  • rainbowwildliferescue

    Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time.

    • fun bobby

      he has not been convicted of any crime

  • rich4321

    ” the conditions are overly harsh”?
    The nerve he has to say overly harsh. The people he killed and the people he injured, who have to live with disabilities for the rest of their lives. What does he call that?

    This piece of garbage is lucky to be alive, he deserves nothing more but a painful slow death in jail to end his pathetic existence.

    • fun bobby

      you understand he has not been convicted of a crime and that jail is not where people go for long periods right?

  • X-Ray

    What the mass murderer of innocents wants is not important. The kiings are “overly harsh” too.

  • rtc_amesbury

    I’m sure we can arrange for a transfer to Guantanamo for “Flash Bang” …. better yet, put him in with the general population and see how he does!

  • rtc_amesbury

    We could always show him “Islamic Justice” and publicly execute him in Harvard Square ….

  • fun bobby

    wow its pretty disgusting to hear people make such stupid remarks. if we change our principles and ideals to deal with these people then they win. its that simple. all of you play into their hands with your foolishness.

  • fun bobby

    alleged victims

  • Lawrence

    You bring up an important point. It’s more interesting to hear from someone with first hand experience.

  • Booker T

    The prison brings in 3 pressure cookers everyday for “Chechen Roulette.”

  • Booker T

    The real complaint that Ship-stain has is that the guards keep smoking weed right outside his cell.

  • Booker T

    I laugh ever time Ship-Stain is called the “Alleged Boston Bomber.”

Most Popular