The terror suspect Dzjokhar Tsarnajev risk the death penalty if he is found guilty of carrying out bomb attacks against the Boston Marathon in 2013.
Dzjokhar Tsarnajev must be present when the trial starts in Boston Monday.
The first thing on the court's agenda is to select a jury.
It is expected that the jury selection process will last for two weeks. As many as 1,200 people have been summoned as potential members.
The 21-year-old could be sentenced to death for what the AFP news agency called the most serious terrorist act on US soil since September 11, 2001. Three people were killed when two bombs went off during the Boston Marathon on the 15th of April 2013.
Dzjokhars seven years older brother was killed while fleeing from the police, and defense lawyers are expected to portray the dead brother as the mastermind and the brains behind the attack.
Tsarnajev is to be defended by a team of five lawyers, among them the experienced lawyer Judy Clarke. She previously saved many of her clients from the death penalty, and Clarke has among others defended the so called Una-bomber Ted Kaczynski and Eric Rudolph, who blew up a bomb at the Olympics in Atlanta in 1996.
Tsarnajev has pleaded not guilty on all 30 charges, including use of weapons of mass destruction (WMD).
The term WMD is generally used as a generic term for nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. But according to US federal criminal law the bombs that the two brothers made from two pressure cookers, were powerful enough to be classified as weapons of mass destruction.
Prosecutors believe the two brothers had no accomplices. They are portrayed as "radical lone wolves who learned to make bombs of an al-Qaida publication on the Internet," AFP writes.
In the boat where the badly wounded Tsarnajev was arrested after a dramatic manhunt, a message was found that may provide insight into the motive behind the terrorist act:
“The U.S. government is killing our innocent civilians”; “I can’t stand to see such evil go unpunished”; “We Muslims are one body, you hurt one you hurt us all”; and “Stop killing our innocent people and we will stop.”
Tsarnajev's defense lawyers believes it will be impossible to find an impartial jury unless the case moved out of Massachusetts.
- Every juror in Boston will be affected by the incident, the lawyers writes in a statement the Associated Press has obtained.
Both requests for the case to be postponed and moved to another state, has been rejected.
The serious indictment allows the prosecutor to request the death penalty for Tsarnajev.
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