U.S.-based magazine Rolling Stone is under fire for using a picture of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on the cover of its upcoming issue.
The photo, unveiled by the magazine Wednesday, depicts a youthful Tsarnaev with soft eyes and long, flowing curly hair. The magazine chose the photo to promote its in-depth story on Tsarnaev's life leading up to the April 15 attacks. But it was instantly compared to similar portraits of legendary rock stars Bob Dylan and Jim Morrison, prompting accusations that Rolling Stone was glamorizing terrorism.
Thousands of people went on Facebook and Twitter to condemn the magazine, with many vowing to never buy another issue. A handful of retailers, including two national drug chain stores, have refused to sell the issue.
In a letter to publisher Jann Wenner, Boston Mayor Thomas Menino said the survivors of the attack were more deserving of a cover than Tsarnaev, but added "I no longer feel that Rolling Stone deserves them."
The magazine issued a statement late Wednesday defending its decision to use the photo, saying it falls within commitment to "serious and thoughtful coverage" of the world's biggest "political and cultural issues of the day."
The issue officially goes on sale Friday.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and his older brother Tamerlan are accused of plotting the attack on the famous race that killed three people dead and left more than 260 others wounded, many of them losing legs and other limbs from the shrapnel caused by the homemade bombs. The younger Tsarnaev was wounded in a shootout with police that left Tamerlan dead, and was captured a day later.
The pair are also accused in the shooting death of a police officer with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology .