Tamerlan Dzhokhar, 26
TORONTO - The aunt of two men suspected of the Boston Marathon bombings can't believe her nephews are terrorists.
Maret Tsarnaeva insisted Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, and his older brother, Tamerlan, 26, are being framed but wouldn't specify by whom, when she spoke to QMI Agency Friday morning in her first media interview.
The brothers have been linked to Monday's marathon bombings as well as the reign of terror near Boston late Thursday and early Friday that included the on-campus slaying of an MIT police officer.
Tamerlan was shot dead in an armed confrontation with police late Thursday night. Dzhokhar was apprehended Friday evening around 8:30.
"This is a huge tragedy for the family," Maret, 45, said at her Toronto apartment. "The father of these two boys, he knows them as angels. I know them as angels, too. Where is the evidence that these two boys are terrorists?
"We're talking about some crazy person, not Tamerlan. When I imagine someone is wearing explosives, it's not him. If he wants to do that, he needs to go to Iraq or Afghanistan.
"Why would he do this madness in America? To prove what?
"Why doesn't the FBI give me more?" she said. "For me to be convinced that my two nephews committed this kind of crime and atrocities cannot be taken lightly. Convince me.
"These two boys, all they must have in their heads at this age is love," she continued. "They are taught these kinds of acts - of killing people, bombing people - this is what we're opposed to."
Tamerlan and Dzhokhar were both born in Chechnya along with their two sisters.
Their father, Anzor, his wife and the four children fled to Kyrgyzstan in 1994 at the beginning of the first Chechen war.
"They hate what is happening there," she said. "That's why they fled from Chechnya, not to be victims of those wars."
Dzhokhar loved math growing up and he started wrestling in his teen years.
Tamerlan won several championships as a heavyweight boxer. He attended a university in the area, but dropped out when he married "a Christian girl" and became a father. The couple has a toddler daughter.
Maret and her nephews are Muslim and for the past two years she said Tamerlan began praying five times daily.
"I don't see anything bad in it," she said. "I'd rather him praying than smoking or doing drugs or some other unlawful stuff."
- The aunt of the suspected Boston bombers is Maret Tsarnaev of Toronto
- Says her 2 nephews are "innocent" and are "being framed," and called them "sweet boys"
- She went online and recognize photos of two boys and said "yes, it is them"
- She says they have lived in the Boston area for many years
- Most of the family lives in Chechnya and Kazakhstan
- She says the older brother, Tamerlan, has a Christian wife and two-year-old daughter living in Cambridge
- She disputes reports about brothers having explosive devices on them, saying "there is no way they could of, they don't have military backgrounds"
- She hasn't seen the suspects for 5 years
- She says the family fled Chechnya in early 1990's to escape bloodshed and violence there
- She says the boys come from family of 4 children, and have two sisters