A foreign national accused of killing eight people with a truck in Manhattan spoke out in federal court Friday to defend his allegiance to the Islamic State (ISIS).
Sayfullo Saipov, 30, requested through his lawyers to speak to Federal District Court Judge Vernon S. Broderick, and the court granted his request to speak to the judge through translators when Saipov made the statements defending ISIS, the New York Times reported.
Saipov said that any judgments made in the courtroom were “not important” because he was not being judged by Allah, adding that ISIS is “fighting to impose Sharia on earth” instead of fighting for land or commodities like oil.
While Saipov addressed the court, prosecutors asked the judge to remind the terror suspect of his right to remain silent and reminded the judge that Saipov is under tight security in prison “to limit his ability to discuss terrorist propaganda.”
Judge Broderick reminded Saipov that anything he says can be used against him in court. Saipov, in reply, told the judge, “I understand you, but I’m not worried about this at all.”
The foreign national addressed the court for ten minutes before stating he would make other statements “in the future.”
Authorities arrested Saipov in October after he allegedly mowed down several pedestrians traveling on a bike path in the Tribeca neighborhood of Manhattan in New York City. Eight people died, and dozens of others were injured in the incident which law enforcement officials have called “an act of terror.”
The foreign national arrived in the United States in 2010 from Uzbekistan under a Diversity Visa Lottery before he went on to obtain his green card.
The Trump administration, as part of its immigration reform plan, has sought to end the Diversity Visa Lottery—a program which gives out 50,000 visas per year to people from different countries, including those coming from countries with ties to terrorism.