The parents of the two brothers accused in the bomb attack that killed three people and wounded more than 260 near the finish line of the Boston Marathon insisted Thursday that their sons were innocent and had no connection to radical Islam.
In an outpouring of anguish and anger at a news conference here in the capital of Dagestan, the brothers’ father, Anzor Tsarnaev, and mother, Zubeidat Tsarnaeva, also made accusations of a conspiracy in which the U.S. authorities murdered their older son, Tamerlan, after seizing him.
Officials in the United States have said that Tamerlan was shot during a standoff with police and was run over by a car driven by his younger brother as he escaped from the scene. The younger brother, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, was captured and has been charged with using a weapon of mass destruction. Officials have also released video showing the brothers near the site of the marathon bombing.
Despite this evidence, and after two days of questioning by agents of the FBI here, Tsarnaeva said she would not accept that her sons were guilty.
”No I don’t — and I won’t,” she snapped at the news conference. “Never!”
During the nearly hourlong emotional session, the parents addressed many of the questions that investigators and the U.S. public have been askingsince the bombing, insisting their sons were not religious radicals or connected to any terrorist organization.
Their answers were often a mixture of denial and conspiracy theory. In one dramatic moment, Tsarnaeva said FBI agents who came to the family’s home in Massachusetts to question Tamerlan about his religious views had asked her if she worried that he might commit an act of terrorism.
”Actually, they told me, don’t you think that Tamerlan is being a little bit, you know, like, extreme about religion?” she said. “Do you think that he would think about organizing some kind of, you know —,” she broke off. “Probably that was their meaning: terroristic, terrorism or whatever, aggression.”
She said that in the days after the Boston bombing she had seen what she described as video footage on the Internet appearing to show Tamerlan alive and being put into a police car, naked, apparently stripped to check for explosives. The next day, she said, she saw gruesome images of his dead body.
“I wanted to scream, to scream to the whole world: ‘What did you do? What have you done with my son?’ ” she said. “He was alive. Why did they need to kill him?”
She and her husband said they regretted having lived in the United States, but that they wanted to travel back soon to see Dzhokhar.
” “I thought America was going to, like, protect us, our kids,” Tsarnaeva said, nearly breaking into tears. “But it happened the opposite. My kids — America took my kids away from me.”
”I am sure that my kids were not involved in anything,” she said.
Anzor Tsarnaev responded sharply to a reporter who asked why Tamerlan had felt that he did not fit in among Americans, once saying he did not have any friends.
”That’s not true,” Anzor Tsarnaev said, “He have a lot of friends. I know these friends.”
Tsarnaeva reacted furiously to a questioner who said Dzhokhar had told officials the brothers were motivated by extremist Islam.
“They told me yesterday that he was not questioned yet,” she said of her son’s lawyers. “Where does this information come from?”