Aunt of Suspects: "I'm Suspicious That This Was Staged"

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
April 19 2013 3:55 PM

Aunt of Suspects: "I'm Suspicious That This Was Staged"

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Maret Tsarnaeva, the aunt of Boston Marathon bombing suspects Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, spoke at length to the media on Friday from Toronto. And it seems she isn't convinced that her nephews are the Boston Marathon bombers: "I'm suspicious that this was staged," she said, as she asked for more evidence from the FBI. It's a very different response from the brothers' uncle Ruslan Tsarni, who urged the younger of the two, still at large, to turn himself in. 

"We're talking about three dead people, 100-something injured, and I do not believe, I just do not believe our boys would do that," Tsarnaeva told reporters. 

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Tsarnaeva, visibly upset and obviously still processing the news, told reporters that Dzhokhar and his parents came to the U.S. in 2002, after which they were granted refugee status. Tamerlan, she says, was a father to a 2-year-old daughter and married to a Christian. (Tamerlan's father said something similar in an interview on Friday.) According to Tsarnaeva, he'd angered his father after dropping out of university. In response to a reporter's question, Tsarnaeva said that the older brother (who is now deceased) had recently become a devout Muslim, which she characterized as him starting to pray five times a day about two years ago. But it should be noted that the aunt doesn't believe her nephew had become an extremist: "He has a wife in Boston and from a Christian family, so you can't tie it to religion," she said. 

**Follow the @slatest team on Twitter, and read more on Slate about the Boston Marathon bombing.**

Abby Ohlheiser is a Slate contributor.