Boston suspects were framed, mother says
Published 20/04/2013 | 12:13
ONE of the two ethnic Chechens suspected of being behind the Boston Marathon bombings had been under FBI surveillance for at least three years, his mother said.
Zubeidat Tsarnaeva told the English-language Russia Today television station in a phone interview, a recording of which was obtained by Reuters, that she believed her sons were innocent and had been framed.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, was killed in a shootout with police and his 19-year-old brother Dzhokhar was captured after a day-long manhunt.
It has also been reported that Dzhokhar attended a party two days after the bombings in which three people were killed and 180 injured.
"He (Tamerlan) was controlled by the FBI, like, for three to five years," his mother said, speaking in English and using the direct English translation of a word in Russian that means monitored.
"They knew what my son was doing, they knew what sites on the Internet he was going to," she said in what Russia Today described as a call from Makhachkala, the city where she lives in Russia's Dagestan region.
Tsarnaeva echoed the boys' father, Anzor, who said on Friday that he believed they had been framed.
"It is really, really a hard thing to hear. And being a mother, what I can say is that I am really sure, I am, like, 100 percent sure, that this is a set-up," she said.
U.S. government officials have said the brothers were not under surveillance as possible militants. But the FBI said in a statement on Friday that in 2011 it interviewed Tamerlan at the request of a foreign government, which it did not identify.
It said the matter was closed because interviews with Tamerlan and family members "did not find any terrorism activity, domestic or foreign".
The FBI statement was the first evidence that the family had come to security officials' attention after they emigrated to the United States from Dagestan about a decade ago.
Meanwhile, Dzhokhar, who is in a serious condition in hospital after he was captured alive overnight, reportedly partied with friends on Wednesday.
The capture sent waves of relief and jubilation through Boston and the suburb of Watertown, where armored vehicles roamed the streets and helicopters flew overhead through the day.
Residents and police officers cheered and clapped when he was taken alive after a gunfight.
Bleeding and in serious condition, he was admitted to a Boston hospital, a Massachusetts State Police spokesman said.
It was not yet clear when he would face initial charges.
Tsarnaev had been hiding in the stern of a boat parked in the backyard of a house in Watertown, police said.
A resident called police after spotting blood on the boat.
David Procopio, state police spokesman, told the Boston Herald today that Dzhokhar was in "serious if not critical condition" when taken to hospital:
"He had lost a lot of blood. He was so weak that we were able to just go in and scoop him up," he said.
A report in the 'Boston Globe' today says that the 19-year-old was at a soccer party at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth Wednesday - two days after the marathon massacre.
“He was just relaxed,’’ a woman told the newspaper.
Electronic card swipes on campus show that before partying, he had treated Wednesday like any other day, including putting in a workout at the gym.
He slept in his single-unit dorm room that night — as hundreds of law-enforcement officials were looking for him.
Before heading to the party, Tsarnaev tweeted, “I’m a stress-free kind of guy.’’