McCain, GOP Senators: Declare Boston Bomber 'Enemy Combatant'

Saturday, 20 Apr 2013 08:15 PM

By Greg Richter

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Some Republican lawmakers want Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the surviving suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings, tried as an enemy combatant – not in civilian court.

“It is clear the events we have seen over the past few days in Boston were an attempt to kill American citizens and terrorize a major American city,” a statement from Sens. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.; John McCain, R-Ariz.; Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H.; and Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., released Saturday said.

The senators and King argue that it is more important to gather evidence from Tsarnaev than to worry about granting him Miranda rights. They say there is enough evidence to convict him without having to use statements he might make.

Others, including Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., argue the public-safety exemption will allow authorities to question Tsarnaev for 48 hours before reading him his right to remain silent and granting him an attorney.

King told Politico, “America is part of the battleground,” making the enemy combatant pursuit legitimate. “If you capture someone on the battleground, they should not be given the privilege of a civilian trial where they are given different rights.

Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., disagreed.

“To hold the suspect as an enemy combatant under these circumstances would be contrary to our laws and may even jeopardize our efforts to prosecute him for his crimes,” he said.

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