The mother of the Boston Marathon bombings suspect was previously added to a terrorist watch list over suspicion that she may have been an Islamic extremist. Zubeidat Tsarnaev was placed on the list 18 months ago, alongside her now deceased older son, Tamerlan, it was revealed Friday (April 26).
According to officials, Zubeidat and Tamerlan were added to the database in 2011, at the request of the Russian government. There was fear that mother and son would commit a terrorist attack in Russia, out of retaliation for the persecution of Chechnans in the country.
Prior to asking that they be investigated, Russian officials recorded phone conversations where Zubeidat “vaguely discussed jihad.” The correspondence never mentioned an attack on the U.S.
No information was found to keep investigating the two, but Zubeidat is now believed to have influenced her son’s religious militance. “She’s a person of interest that we’re looking at to see if she helped radicalize her son or had contacts with other people in other terrorist groups,” U.S. Rep U.S. Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.) said.
Zubeidat and her family emigrated to the Boston area over a decade ago, and later became naturalized citizens. She has since left the states, and is currently in Dagestan. Investigators have traveled to the country in hopes of gaining more information about the attack, allegedly committed by Tamerlan and his younger brother, Dzhokar.
Amid hearing news that her sons were suspected in the bombings, Zubeidat and the brothers’ father, Anzor Tsarnaev, publicly denounced the allegations. Anzor promised to fly back to the U.S. to see his surviving son, 19-year-old Dzhokar , but has since cancelled the plan. “Unfortunately I can’t help my child in any way. I am in touch with Dzhokhar’s and my own lawyers. They told me they would let me know [what to do],” he said in an interview.
Anzor says he suffers from a heart condition and high blood pressure, further barring him from travel.“I am not going back to the United States. For now I am here. I am ill.” He and Zubeidat recently moved from their family home in Dagestan to another location in an attempt to keep a lower profile.