The main suspect in the New Year’s Eve Istanbul nightclub attack has reportedly asked the court to give him the death penalty.
“If the death penalty were given [to me], it would be great,” Abdulgadir Masharipov told an Istanbul court after recounting the deadly attack, in testimony released Monday.
A Turkish court on Saturday remanded Masharipov in custody over the attack, which claimed 39 lives and injured 70 others in a crowded nightclub in Istanbul’s Ortakoy district. Masharipov was apprehended on Jan. 16.
“I do not think that I did anything against Turkey. I did not take any action against Turkey. I took revenge. I do not regret what I did. I think I exacted retaliation,” he told the court.
Masharipov, an Uzbek citizen, is charged with membership in an armed terrorist group, premeditated murder, trying to overturn the constitutional order, and possession of heavy weapons.
Masharipov said he had been ordered to carry out the attack by Yasser Mohammed Salem Radown, a foreign national also known as Abu Jihad.
Radown was arrested last month when Turkish police raided a residence in Istanbul’s Zeytinburnu district.
Masharipov said that Radown gave him the address and photos of the nightclub to target, called the Reina, adding, “He didn’t give me any information on the people there, where they came from or their religion”.
Saying that he got weapons training from the “Jihad and Community” group in Afghanistan, a wing of the Taliban, Masharipov added: “I entered there [the club] after I killed the police. I opened random fire on the people with a Kalashnikov. After I was out of bullets, I threw flash charges. I pointed the third one at my face, but I didn’t die”.