Al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri has warned the US of the “gravest consequences” if Boston marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev or any other Muslim prisoner is executed.
Tsarnaev, named in Zawahiri’s online video message, was sentenced to death by lethal injection last year for the 2013 bomb attack that killed three people and injured more than 260 others. Tsarnaev committed the bombing with his older brother, Tamerlan, who was killed in a shootout with police in the manhunt that followed it.
The younger sibling spoke publicly only once since his capture, telling the Boston court that sentenced him: “I am sorry for the lives I have taken, for the suffering that I have caused you for the damage I have done – irreparable damage.”
Zawahiri took command of al-Qaida after Osama bin Laden was killed in 2011, by a US raid in Pakistan. The 64-year-old successor has eluded American strikes in the five years since, but the group’s influence has waned while rivals have gained power around the Middle East. Al-Qaida remains an active presence in Yemen, Pakistan and Libya, but its affiliate in Iraq grew into the terror group Isis as the civil war in neighboring Syria spiraled out of control.