New York terrorist Sayfullo Saipov receives life imprisonment
West Side Highway terrorist Sayfullo Saipov will be sentenced to life in prison at his sentencing on Wednesday. More than two dozen victims are expected to speak out about the toll the ISIS-inspired attack has taken on their lives.
Prosecutors expect about 25 people – including two who are traveling to New York from abroad – will each speak for about five minutes during the hearing in federal court in Manhattan.
Saipov will have an opportunity to speak in court after his victims have spoken.
The 35-year-old Uzbek immigrant was convicted in January on 28 counts of racketeering, conspiracy and material support to a terrorist organization for the October 31, 2017 truck rampage on a bike lane in Lower Manhattan that killed eight and injured many more.
After a second penalty phase of the trial, the jury failed to unanimously agree to sentence Saipov to death – meaning he faces life in prison without parole instead.
In court filings on Tuesday, prosecutors emphasized the “extraordinary depravity” of Saipov’s crimes, asking the judge to hand down eight straight life sentences — the equivalent of 260 years in prison.
Saipov remains “dedicated to ISIS and its hateful ideology” – evidenced by his 2022 jail notebooks, which refer to jihad and ISIS and contain violent imagery, prosecutors said, adding he was still “proud.” ‘ on the Halloween attack.
The Islamist extremist had been violent since his incarceration and threatened, among other things, to “behead prison officers,” prosecutors said.
“Saipov is an unabashed terrorist — a proud killer who deserves no leniency and should be punished to the fullest extent of the law,” prosecutors wrote.
The families of the victims who were killed testified in court how devastating the loss of their loved ones was.
“The defendant has caused unbearable suffering to these families. They’re still suffering,” Manhattan Assistant U.S. Attorney Amanda Houle said when she asked for a higher sentence in closing arguments in the second trial in March.
Saipov’s family members also took the stand and tearfully testified how much they still loved him despite his terrible deeds.
In February, a dramatic scene unfolded in the courtroom when Saipov’s crying father told jurors he still loves his son “with all his heart,” before Saipov’s uncle yelled in Uzbek from the court gallery, “Dirty ISIS bastards!”
The jury found mitigating factors in the decision against the death penalty, including the fact that Saipov has three children and other family members who still love him and want him alive.
When Saipov’s attorney David Patton argued against the death penalty, he told the jury, “It is not necessary to kill Sayfullo Saipov, either for our safety or that of others, and not to seek justice.”
Saipov is being held at the country’s “Supermax” ADX prison in Florence, Colorado.
The jury heard from Saipov’s attorneys in the second part of the trial about the restrictive and spartan conditions their client will face at the federal facility.
“He will never eat the food he loves again. Never try the food he grew up eating,” Saipov attorney David Stern said.