White House: Tsarnaev Not an 'Enemy Combatant'

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev
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Dzhokhar Tsarnaev

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev "will not be treated as an enemy combatant" in the Boston Marathon bombings, White House spokesman Jay Carney said Monday.

"We will prosecute this terrorist through our civilian system of justice," Carney told reporters. "Under U.S. law, United States citizens cannot be tried in military commissions."

Tsarnaev, whose 26-year-old brother and suspected co-conspirator Tamerlan was killed last week during a firefight with police, was officially charged Monday with "using a weapon of mass destruction against persons and property at the Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013, resulting in the death of three people and injuries to more than 200 people," according to a Department of Justice statement.

Tsarnaev, 19, an ethnic Chechen who immigrated to the U.S. a decade ago, made his initial court appearance in his room in Beth Israel hospital. He is listed in serious but stable condition.

"Although our investigation is ongoing, today's charges bring a successful end to a tragic week for the city of Boston, and for our country," Attorney General Eric Holder said in the statement, adding that the Justice Department intends to "hold those who are responsible for these heinous acts accountable to the fullest extent of the law."

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