Brother ‘behind Boston bomb plot’

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Published: Monday 27th April 2015 by The News Editor

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A lawyer for Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has accused Tsarnaev’s late older brother of masterminding the 2013 bombing plot and providing the fuel to drive the plan.

Attorney David Bruck pinned much of the blame on Tamerlan Tsarnaev in his opening statement to the Boston court today. Jurors have convicted Dzhokhar Tsarnaev of all 30 charges against him and will decide whether he lives or dies.

Mr Bruck said 26-year-old Tamerlan was loud and aggressive, got into fights and failed at everything he did. In contrast 21-year-old Dzhokhar was a good student in school, beloved by his teachers.

He called Dzhokhar a “good kid”.

Tamerlan died following a gun battle with police days after the bombing which killed three people and injured more than 260 others.

Mr Bruck said a photo of Dzhokhar flipping his middle finger at a security camera in a prison cell was the work of an “immature 19-year-old”.

The photo caused a sensation last week when prosecutors showed it to the jury that will decide whether Dzhokhar lives or dies. The images were taken three months after the bombings.

Prosecutors told the jury the photo showed an “unconcerned, unrepentant and unchanged” Dzhokhar.

But Mr Bruck downplayed the photo, saying all it meant was “that he was acting like an immature 19-year-old”.

He urged the jury to send Dzhokhar to prison for the rest of his life, saying: “There is no point in trying to hurt him as he hurt because it can’t be done.”

Mr Bruck said there is no punishment Dzhokhar can receive that would be equal to the suffering of the victims.

He added: “There is no evening the scales.”

Later an acquaintance of Tamerlan told the court how the bomber had criticised the US government’s actions abroad about four months before the attack.

Robert Barnes said he and Tamerlan spoke in December 2012 at a pizzeria in Cambridge. He said Tamerlan was “very passionate” in his criticisms and became aggressive when another man attacked his religion for how it treated women.

Another defence witness described an incident at a mosque when Tamerlan became angry and interrupted prayer services.

Imam Loay Assaf said Tamerlan got very angry during one service in 2013 when Mr Assaf praised Martin Luther King and compared him to the Prophet Mohammad.

Mr Assaf said Tamerlan interrupted the service, shouting at him and calling him a “hypocrite”.

Published: Monday 27th April 2015 by The News Editor

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