White House press secretary Jay Carney said on Monday that the Obama administration will not treat Boston bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev as an “enemy combatant,” bucking calls from Republican members of Congress.
Carney said he will be prosecuted through the normal criminal justice system.
“This is absolutely the right way to go and the appropriate way to go,” Carney said.
Tsarnaev was charged Monday in his hospital bed, according to Bloomberg.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) had been leading a charge to treat the 19-year-old Tsarnaev — who was captured by police on Friday in Watertown, Mass. — as an enemy combatant. Graham was joined by U.S. Sens. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.), as well as Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.).
The GOP lawmakers said that Tsarnaev met the definition of an enemy combatant, which would prevent him from invoking rights to remain silent and to an attorney.
“He’s a potential enemy combatant. He has ties with overseas terrorists. He’s clearly a radical Islamist. I would hold him under that theory,” Graham said Monday on “Fox & Friends.”
“This idea that the only way we can question him about national security matters is to go through his lawyer, turns [it] over to the terrorist and their lawyer controlling information to protect us all. That’s crazy. That is absolutely crazy. This man should be held and questioned under the law of war.”
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