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Boston Suspects: What's Known by the Facts

Common Dreams staff

In an attempt to scissor out the speculative nature of much mainstream reporting, the following is a list of established facts regarding the two named suspects in the Boston Marathon bombings earlier this week.

What's known so far:

  • Two brothers, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev (aged 19) and Tamerlan Tsarnaev (aged 26), have been named as the two individuals shown in photographs and video footage released late yesterday by law enforcement.
  • Tamerlan, according to numerous reports, was killed late last night following a shootout with law enforcement.
  • As of 12:20 PM (EST), Dzhokhar remained on the run and a huge a manhunt was still underway for his capture.

Personal information:

Tamerlan Tsarnaev:

  • The older of the brothers, Tamerlan is reported to have been born in Russia, but exactly where remains unclear.
  • He attended the prestigious Cambridge Rindge and Latin High School in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
  • This documentary-style photo essay tells the story of Tamerlan's boxing career.
  • Tamerlan studied engineering at Bunker Hill Community College in Boston.
  • According to the website, a man with the name Tamerlan Tsarnaev was arrested for domestic violence in July 2009 after assaulting his girlfriend.

    Dzhokhar Tsarneav:

  • This page on the Europe-based social networking site appears to belong to Dzhokhar Tsarnaev (though the spelling on the site reads Djohar Tsarnaev).
  • Dzhokhar was born in the nation of Kyrgystan, a former Soviet republic in central Asia.
  • According to the brother's uncle, the family emigrated to the United States from Kyrgystan in 2003 and were granted asylum.
  • Like his brother, Dzhokhar attended the prestigious Boston-area Cambridge Rindge and Latin High School. Associated Press reports he graduated in 2011.
  • “He had a ton of friends, he seemed normal, seemed like a regular kid,” said Peter Payack, a who coached Dzhokhar in wrestling at Cambridge Rindge and Latin High School.

The uncle of the two brothers, Ruslan Tsarni, spoke with reporters just before noon on Friday, condemning his nephews, clarifying some of the facts about their upbringing, and expressing his grief for the victims and family members impacted by this week's violence:

"Yes, we are ashamed," he said, speaking on behalf of himself and the extended family.

Asked why the brothers might have done it, the uncle was blunt. "What I think was behind it?" he said. "Being losers."

"Anything else to do with religion, with Islam," he said, "... is a fraud, is a fake."

Asked about Chechnya, Tsarni responded: "This has nothing to do with Chechnya." And added that neither of the men were born in the region and, to his knowledge, had never been there.

Tsarni said that if still alive, his nephew Dzokhar, should 'turn himself in' and 'ask for forgiveness' from those killed and injured in Monday's bombings.

Robin Young, whose nephew graduated high school with Dzohkar, tweeted this message on Friday:


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