The Boston Bomber's First Words To The Survivors Of The 2012 Bombing & Victims' Families Were Unexpected
More than two years after he and brother Tamerlan engineered the bombing of the 2013 Boston Marathon in the worst terrorist attack on U.S. soil since 9/11, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has finally spoken in a courtroom, addressing the families of his victims, and effectively, those following the aftermath of the murders all over the world. For the first time since the bombing, Tsarnaev expressed remorse and regret for his actions, stating "I am sorry for the lives that I have taken, the suffering that I have caused you, the damage that I've done."
"I pray for your relief, for your healing, for your well-being, for your strength," he added, in his first public comments since the 2013 bombings. The New York Times reports that his speech was roughly four minutes long.
Thank you, your honor, for giving me an opportunity to speak. I would like to begin in the name of Allah, the exalted and glorious, the most gracious, the most merciful, Allah, among the most beautiful names. Any act that does not begin in the name of God is separate from goodness.
This is the blessed month of Ramadan, and it is the month of mercy from Allah to his creation, a month to ask forgiveness of Allah and of his creation, a month to express gratitude to Allah and to his creation. It's the month of reconciliation, a month of patience, a month during which hearts change. Indeed, a month of many blessings.
The Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, said if you have not thanked the people, you have not thanked God. So I would like to first thank my attorneys, those who sit at this table, the table behind me, and many more behind the scenes. They have done much good for me, for my family. They made my life the last two years very easy. I cherish their company. They're lovely companions. I thank you.
I would like to thank those who took time out of their daily lives to come and testify on my behalf despite the pressure. I'd like to thank the jury for their service, and the court.
The Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, said that if you do not — if you are not merciful to Allah's creation, Allah will not be merciful to you, so I'd like to now apologize to the victims, to the survivors.
Immediately after the bombing, which I am guilty of — if there's any lingering doubt about that, let there be no more. I did do it along with my brother — I learned of some of the victims. I learned their names, their faces, their age. And throughout this trial more of those victims were given names, more of those victims had faces, and they had burdened souls.
Now, all those who got up on that witness stand and that podium related to us — to me — I was listening — the suffering that was and the hardship that still is, with strength and with patience and with dignity. Now, Allah says in the Quran that no soul is burdened with more than it can bear, and you told us just how unbearable it was, how horrendous it was, this thing I put you through. And I know that you kept that much. I know that there isn't enough time in the day for you to have related to us everything. I also wish that far more people had a chance to get up there, but I took them from you.
Now, I am sorry for the lives that I've taken, for the suffering that I've caused you, for the damage that I've done, irreparable damage.
Now, I am a Muslim. My religion is Islam. The God I worship, besides whom there is no other God, is Allah. And I prayed for Allah to bestow his mercy upon the deceased, those affected in the bombing and their families. Allah says in the Quran that with every hardship there is relief. I pray for your relief, for your healing, for your well-being, for your strength.
I ask Allah to have mercy upon me and my brother and my family. I ask Allah to bestow his mercy upon those present here today. And Allah knows best those deserving of his mercy. And I ask Allah to have mercy upon the ummah of Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him. Amin. Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds.
Leading up to the formal sentencing on Wednesday, speculation was flying over whether Tsarnaev would actually address the court — family members of the victims were allowed to voice their feelings to him, which was every bit as raw and emotional as you'd expect, but he wasn't required to follow suit. And, considering reports of his relatively stoic courtroom behavior, with only a few signs of emotion or reaction, it's somewhat surprising that he actually decided to speak. Obviously, he had nothing to gain by offering some words of contrition, but nothing to lose either, having already been sentenced to death.
After offering these apologies — including a direct, unqualified admission of his guilt, cutting against the conspiracy theorists who've attached themselves to the idea of his innocence — Tsarnaev was formally sentenced to death. He'll serve out his time on federal death row in Terra Haute, Indiana, until then, and it could be a while, since the appeals process in death penalty cases can take several years.
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