White House press secretary Jay Carney on Monday said emphatically that Boston Marathon bombings suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev will be prosecuted in a civilian court, rebuffing Republicans like Sens. John McCain (R-AZ) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) who have argued that he should be treated as an enemy combatant.
That won’t happen, Carney said at an afternoon press briefing.
“He will not be treated as an enemy combatant,” Carney said. “We will prosecute this terrorist through our civilian system of justice. Under U.S. law, United States citizens cannot be tried in military commissions.”
The 19-year-old Tsarnaev became a U.S. citizen on Sept. 11, 2012.
Carney also noted that the federal court system has been used successfully to try, convict and incarcerate innumerable suspected terrorists since 9/11, including Faisal Shahzad, who failed in his 2010 attempt to detonate a bomb in Times Square, and Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the so-called underwear bomber. Both men were sentenced to life in prison after being tried in federal court.