Boston Marathon bomber makes handwritten appeal to Merrick Garland for leniency

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev claims federal government has caused him ‘emotional distress’ in jail

Graeme Massie
Los Angeles
Tuesday 09 March 2021 22:31
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Boston bomber found guilty

The Boston Marathon bomber has made a handwritten appeal to incoming US Attorney General Merrick Garland for easier treatment inside his maximum security prison.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev claims in a new 20-page complaint that his constitutional rights are being violated and has called on Mr Garland to step in.

“I am suffering psychological injury, emotional distress, and destruction of my familial relationships,” Tsarnaev wrote in his appeal from the Federal Correctional Complex Florence.

In his $250,000 lawsuit, Tsarnaev claims that he cannot use his $2,300 prison canteen account, is banned from communicating with his nieces and nephews, has all telephone calls monitored, his mail “censored” and cannot share photos from the prison.

The 27-year-old also wants prison officials to give him back a white baseball cap and an “Aztec-red” bandana.

Tsarnaev also accuses guards and the warden at the prison of “unlawful, unreasonable and discriminatory” behaviour towards him.

In the filing he complains that his phone calls to his parents and sisters “twice a month” can be “terminated” if his nieces and nephews address him “in any kind of way.”

And he claims that this has caused him “psychological and emotional distress.”

Tsarnaev was convicted on April 8, 2015, and sentence to death several months later.

His death sentence was vacated on appeal in July 2020, but he remains behind bars on several life sentences.

The Justice Department has appealed the case to the US Supreme Court.

Tsarnaev and his older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, set two bombs off at the finish line of the 2013 marathon, killing three people and wounding more than 260 others,

Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, died following a gunfight with police and being run over by his brother as he escaped. 

Police captured a wounded Dzhokhar Tsarnaev hours later in the Boston suburb of Watertown, where he was hiding in a boat parked in a backyard.

Tsarnaev was convicted of all 30 charges against him, including conspiracy and use of a weapon of mass destruction and the killing of a Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer during the Tsarnaev brothers’ getaway attempt. 

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