Istanbul nightclub attacker asks to be given death penalty: Report
REUTERS photoAn Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militant who attacked a famous nightclub at the heart of Istanbul has reportedly asked to be given a death sentence in his testimony.
Uzbek-origin Abdulkadir Masharipov, who killed 39 people and wounded 65 others, said that “it would be good if he was given capital punishment,” daily Sabah reported on Feb. 13.
During his testimony, Masharipov said he was a member of ISIL but had not participated in any attacks by the jihadist organization before the Reina attack.
“I wanted to stage the attack on Christians in order to exact revenge on them for their acts committed all over the world. My aim was to kill Christians. Abu Cihad, who is in Syria, told me to carry out the attack in Taksim, saying ‘Christians are gathering in Taksim,’” Masharipov said, adding that he could not stage the attack in Taksim due to strict security measures.
“There were police officers everywhere. I changed my mind. I called Abu Cihad and told him that I can’t carry out the attack there. Then I went to scope out Reina. Abu Cihad sent me the address and photos of Reina. I constantly texted him. I didn’t see him face-to-face. I went in front of Reina and there were no police officers or security,” he said.
Noting that he wanted to kill himself after staging the attack, Masharipov said he was planning to do so in order not to “fall hostage.”
“When I was out of bullets, I threw two stun grenades. I put the third one near my face to commit suicide, but I didn’t die. I survived, but I entered Reina to die,” he said, adding that he did not regret his actions.
“I took vengeance,” he said.
At least 39 people, including a police officer, were killed when Masharipov opened fire on New Year’s revelers in the nightclub in the Ortaköy neighborhood at about 1:15 a.m. on Jan. 1.
Masharipov was captured in the Esenyurt district of Istanbul late on Jan. 16. He was arrested on Feb. 11.
Meanwhile, it has emerged that Masharipov recorded a “farewell video” before staging the attack. In the video recorded on Dec. 27, 2016, the ISIL militant is seen saying he will stage a suicide attack, daily Habertürk reported on Feb. 12.
According to the footage, Masharipov advises his son to become a suicide bomber like himself. The authorities are attempting to determine whether the video was recorded by the ISIL militant’s wife, Zarina Nurullayeva.