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Update: Dzhokhar Tsarnaev charged in hospital bed, faces death penalty

His first hearing in US federal court has been scheduled for Thursday, 30 May.

This combination of undated photos shows Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, left, and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19.
This combination of undated photos shows Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, left, and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19.
Image: AP/Press Association Images

Updated 19:45

THE 19-YEAR-OLD man suspected of carrying out the Boston Marathon bomb attacks will not be treated as an “enemy combatant” by the US, the White House revealed today as he was arraigned in his hospital bed.

According to the US Department of Justice, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has been officially charged but remains in his hospital bed, where he is being treated for injuries, including a throat wound.

He made his initial appearance before a magistrate judge in hospital. The charges against him include using a weapon of mass destruction. The complaint also involves one count of malicious destruction of property by means of deadly explosives.

In this case, the weapon of mass destruction was an improvised explosive device or IED.

First hearing

His first hearing in US federal court has been scheduled for Thursday, 30 May, an official in the US prosecutor’s office in the city said today.

It was not clear if Tsarnaev will be present, however.

“Although our investigation is ongoing, today’s charges bring a successful end to a tragic week for the city of Boston, and for our country,” said Attorney General Eric Holder. “Our thoughts and prayers remain with each of the bombing victims and brave law enforcement professionals who lost their lives or suffered serious injuries as a result of this week’s senseless violence.

“Thanks to the valoUr of state and local police, the dedication of federal law enforcement and intelligence officials, and the vigilance of members of the public, we’ve once again shown that those who target innocent Americans and attempt to terrorize our cities will not escape from justice.  We will hold those who are responsible for these heinous acts accountable to the fullest extent of the law.”

He could face the death penalty or life imprisonment if convicted.

Earlier, press spokesperson for President Barack Obama told reporters Tsarnaev would be tried through the civilian justice system. The remarks came after some Republicans called for the teenager to be granted the same status as War on Terror detainees.

“We will prosecute this terrorist through our civilian system of justice,” Carney said, arguing that US law prohibited a US citizen being tried in the military court system.

Carney said that since the September 11, 2001 attacks the US government had repeatedly and successfully used civilian courts to try terror suspects. “The system has repeatedly proven that it can successfully handle the threat we continue to face.”

-Additional reporting by AFP

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