The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

State and Nation

April 25, 2013

Boston suspects' father says he's returning to U.S.

— MAKHACHKALA, Russia (AP) — The father of the two Boston bombing suspects said Thursday that he is leaving Russia for the United States in the next day or two, but their mother said she was still thinking it over.

The parents of Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev returned last year to Dagestan, one of several predominantly Muslim provinces in southern Russia, where they lived briefly before moving to the U.S. a decade ago.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, who was killed in a gun battle with police, spent six months last year in Russia's Caucasus, which has been ravaged for years by an insurgency led by religious extremists.

His father, Anzor Tsarnaev, said his son stayed with him for three months in Makhachkala, the capital of Dagestan, and spent one month with relatives, but he was unclear on where his son was for the remaining time.

Investigators have been trying to determine whether Tamerlan was radicalized during his stay in the Caucasus, where he regularly prayed at a Makhachkala mosque.

The suspects' father has expressed a desire to go to the U.S. to find out what happened with his sons, defend his hospitalized 19-year-old son Dzhokhar and if possible bring his older son's body back to Russia for burial. He told journalists on Thursday that he is leaving "today or tomorrow."

Their mother, Zubeidat Tsarnaeva, who was charged with shoplifting in the U.S. last summer, said she has been assured by lawyers that she would not be arrested, but said she was still deciding whether to go.

Tsarnaeva said she now regrets moving her family to the U.S. and believes they would have been better off in a village in Dagestan.

"You know, my kids would be with us, and we would be, like, fine," she said. "So, yes, I would prefer not to live in America now! Why did I even go there? Why? I thought America is going to, like, protect us, our kids, it's going to be safe."

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