The family of now-convicted terrorist Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has remained largely silent throughout his Boston trial, but they are now speaking out following a guilty verdict they don’t agree with.
Family members spoke to Time about how they believe Tsarnaev is innocent and the 2013 bombing of the Boston Marathon was part of an American government conspiracy.
Tsarnaev’s uncle, Said-Hussein Tsarnaev, told Time that the attack “was all fabricated by the American special services.” His family claims the conspiracy was carried out to test the public’s reaction to a terrorist threat and the subsequent imposition of martial law, according to Time.
Some members of Tsarnaev’s family have tried to get him to fire his lawyer, Judy Clarke, who is one of the top death-penalty attorneys in the US.
She admitted at the start of the trial that Tsarnaev was guilty as part of a larger strategy to spare him from the death penalty, which angered Tsarnaev’s relatives. His aunt told Time: “Why do we even need defence attorneys if they just tell the jury he is guilty? What’s the point?” Many of Tsarnaev’s relatives wanted him to get a lawyer who would argue his innocence.
But his mother seems to have come around to the fact that Tsarnaev carried out the attack with his older brother, Tamerlan, according to Time. The difference in opinion among members of the Tsarnaev family has led to a major divide.
Tsarnaev’s great-aunt told Time that his mother “won’t listen to reason” and help convince Dzhokhar to fire his lawyer.
Last week, Dzhokhar, 21, was convicted on all 30 counts against him. The penalty phase of the trial, which will decide whether Dzhokhar gets put to death, will begin next week.
Dzhokhar and Tamerlan planted two homemade pressure-cooker bombs near the finish line of the Boston Marathon in April 2013. The explosions killed three people and wounded 260.
During the trial, prosecutors argued that Dzhokhar was a full and equal partner in the bombing, while Clarke characterised him as a naive teenager who was greatly influenced and radicalized by his older brother.
She told the jury during closing arguments: “We don’t deny that [Dzhokhar] fully participated in the events. But if not for Tamerlan, it would not have happened.”
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