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Uzbek Suspect In New York Truck Attack Pleads Not Guilty


Sayfullo Saipov in a courtroom sketch

The Uzbek immigrant accused of mowing down eight people in a truck attack in New York City last month has pleaded not guilty to murder and other criminal charges.

Sayfullo Saipov, 29, entered his plea on November 28 before U.S. District Judge Vernon Broderick in Manhattan.

He faces 22 counts that include charges of murder and provision of material support and resources to a foreign terrorist organization.

The most serious charges against him carry the death penalty.

Saipov was arrested immediately after the October 31 attack in which he plowed a rented pickup truck down a bike lane on Manhattan's West Side, mowing down pedestrians and cyclists.

It was the deadliest attack in New York since the September 11, 2001, attacks.

Authorities said Saipov made statements after his arrest about his allegiance to the extremist group Islamic State (IS), which later took credit for the attack.

Investigators said one of his cell phones contained dozens of videos and other IS propaganda, including one of a beheading and another of a tank running over a prisoner.

Saipov was shot by a police officer after crashing the pickup truck into a school bus at the end of his rampage. Authorities said his injury was minor enough that he was transferred to a prison facility in Manhattan two days later.

Saipov came to the United States legally in 2010 from Uzbekistan, where officials and his family said he had no history of radicalization or trouble with the law.

He first lived in Ohio, where he was a commercial truck driver, then in Florida. He most recently lived in New Jersey with his wife and children and worked as an Uber driver.

His sister told RFE/RL's Uzbek Service earlier this month that Saipov was "brainwashed" after he came to the United States. She said his family became alarmed when he grew a full beard in the style of some religious extremists after his 2013 marriage.

"When we first saw his picture with a beard, we got scared," Umida Saipova, 27, said in a telephone interview. "We don’t know who has brainwashed him."

With reporting by AFP and Reuters
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