Sister of NYC terror suspect says brother was ‘brainwashed,’ calls for a ‘fair trial’


New York attack suspect Sayfullo Saipov: What we know

A look in the background of the 29-year-old Sayfullo Saipov. He is the man who is allegedly behind the October 31, 2017, terror, where he allegedly mowed down pedestrians and cyclists at a New York City bike path.

The Uzbekistan native accused of carrying out a deadly New York City terror attack was “brainwashed”, his sister said on Friday as they pleaded for President Trump to her brother a “fair trial.”

Umida Saipova, 27, told Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty in a telephone interview that she believed that her brother was “brainwashed” and that she and her family had a “normal” conversation of the day before Sayfullo Saipov plowed a rented Home Depot truck in a popular bike path in lower Manhattan, killing eight people and injuring 12 others.

“We don’t know who has brainwashed him,” Saipova said in Uzbek to the radio station. “We know not of his circumstances. We don’t know. Maybe he’s become a part of some organized group.”

“I don’t know, honestly, how long it will take for his head to get rid of that gif, but I am sure that he will come to his senses, God willing,” she added.

“I spoke with him by phone a day earlier,” Saipova said. “He was in a good mood. It was a normal, good conversation.”


The suspect’s sister said that she wanted to travel to the U.S. to speak with her brother in person and to learn what drove him to carry out the terror attacks. When asked about the President Trump’s tweets calling for the death penalty for Saipov, she said that the family was “the hope of a fair trial.”

Sayfullo Saipov is accused of killing eight people and injuring a dozen others when he rammed a rented truck into pedestrians and cyclists last week.


“We don’t think he should be given the death penalty immediately,” Saipova told RFE/RL. “We hope to have a fair trial. We are ready to go there [in the U.S.], if possible, to talk with him.”

The 29-year-old man was said to be “consumed by hate and a twisted ideology” when he attacked pedestrians on Oct. 31, federal prosecutors said last Wednesday. The “lone wolf” suspect told investigators from his hospital bed, recovering from a gunshot wound to his stomach, that he was inspired by ISIS videos and plotted the attack a year ago. Saipov was charged with providing material support to a terrorist group and committing acts of violence and destruction of vehicles.


A propaganda arm of the Islamic State group on Thursday called Saipov, a soldier of the caliphate.” Saipov jumped out of his truck and shouted “Allahu akbar” — meaning “God is great” in Arabic, after he crashed the car into a school bus. The researchers found knives in the truck and a handwritten note, which included the Islamic religious references and the phrase “Islamic Supplication. It will be passed,” FBI agent Tamber Tyree said on Wednesday.

Prosecutors also said that the suspect 90 videos and 3,800 photos stored on one of the two mobile phones. Many of the materials that were found ISIS related propaganda pieces, which included images of prisoners being beheaded, shot or run over by a tank.

Saipova said her mother visited Saipov two times in the USA and do not see the “sign” of radicalisation during that visit.

“My mother says that she does not notice that a sign of [radicalisation] when they visited him in the USA two times,” she said. “My mother said that she would have brought him back to Uzbekistan, she had noticed anything.”

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