Boston bomber sought jihad in Dagestan, US trial hears

2015-04-29 22:38
Die tweede verdagte wat deur die polisie in Boston gesoek word. (Boston-polisiedepartement, Twitter)

Die tweede verdagte wat deur die polisie in Boston gesoek word. (Boston-polisiedepartement, Twitter)

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Boston - The US trial of Boston bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev heard witness testimony on Wednesday that his elder brother Tamerlan travelled to Dagestan a year before the attacks to "get involved in jihad".

Defence lawyers, working to save Dzhokhar from the death penalty after he was convicted of carrying out the 2013 Boston bombings, is portraying his elder brother as the real culprit.

The double bombing at the Boston Marathon finish line killed three people and wounded 264 others on April 15 2013.

Tamerlan, 26, was shot dead by police four days after the attacks, leaving Dzhokhar, now 21, to stand trial and face conviction alone.

In January 2012, Tamerlan went to Dagestan in southern Russia for six months to make contact with his mother's extended family, the court heard.

He asked for connections to radicals, distant cousin Magomed Kartashov told the FBI in Dagestan, excerpts of which were read out in court.

He "was under the impression that there was jihad on the streets," Kartashov told US investigators in June 2013.

Tamerlan said he had come "with the intention to fight jihad in the forest", his cousin added, explaining that he had little understanding of the realities in Dagestan.

He said his cousin had become radical by listening to online sermons from American-Yemeni cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, who was killed in a drone strike in Yemen in 2011.

Tamerlan "said he wanted to go and fight in Syria", but "had no knowledge and knew nothing", his cousin said.

Kartashov said he saw Tamerlan around a dozen times during his stay in Russia and that his cousin thought jihad was "mandatory".

"It was not a decision he made yesterday," he said of his motivation.

The defence also told the court that the Russian security services tipped off the FBI in March 2011 and the CIA in September 2011 about Tamerlan and his mother's radicalism.

But a Boston investigation concluded there was no terrorist activity, after questioning the Tsarnaev parents.

Read more on:    dzokhar tsarnaev  |  us  |  boston bombings

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