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June 06, 2013

Parents of Boston Bombing Suspects Regret Coming to US

by Brian Padden

The surviving suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings, who was shot and injured by police during the ensuing manhunt, has recovered to the point that he is able to walk and talk and be in contact with his mother in Dagestan.

Wall Street Journal Moscow correspondent Alan Cullison has known the Tsarnaev family since 2003, years before the two brothers Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev allegedly set off two bombs at the Boston Marathon that killed three people and injured more than 260.   He says it was also before Tamerlan embraced radical Muslim views.

 “They were people with very, I would say, outsized and ambitious goals for their life in America. All the children wanted to go to Harvard. Everyone wanted to make a lot of money and get a great big house and have fancy cars," said Cullison.

The older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who died in a gun battle with police, is described as boxer who was involved in drugs and alcohol before turning to radical Islam. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was allegedly a drug dealer and is now in a Massachusetts jail and faces life imprisonment or the death penalty if convicted on terrorism and other charges. Cullison recently talked to the parents, Zubeidat and Anzor Tsarnaev, who admit the family did not adjust well in America.  

 “There are moments of candor when they talk about what life was like in America, and their regrets about it, and the problems they had as a family. I think there is quite a bit of candor," he said.

But he says they maintain that their sons are innocent despite seemingly overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

“They say that it is all contrived. They repeat a lot of things that you can see in conspiracy theory websites in the United States that it was contrived - [that] there were actors involved, that it was set up and that the people were not really injured," said Cullison.

Cullison says the parents were not forthcoming about who Tameraln Tsarnaev met with during his trip to Dagestan last year and if he made contact with any militant groups there.