In Depth

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev: 'Boston bombs were Tamerlan's idea'

Teenager says older brother was 'driving force' behind attack because he wanted to 'defend Islam'

dzhokhar-tsarnaev-230413.jpg

DZHOKHAR TSARNAEV has blamed his older brother Tamerlan for the Boston marathon bombing and told investigators they were not part of any international terrorist group, CNN reports.

A federal magistrate presided at the 19-year-old's bedside at Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital last night to hear him charged with detonating a "weapon of mass destruction" to kill and maim civilians - a charge that carries the death penalty.

Dzhokhar, who has gunshot wounds to his head, neck, hands and leg, was sedated and on a ventilator, but was described as "alert, mentally competent and lucid".

Providing his answers in writing, he claimed his 26-year-old brother was the "driving force" behind the bombings and that Tamerlan wanted to "defend Islam from attack", a US government source told CNN. The teenager was able to speak once, saying "no" when asked if he could afford a lawyer.

Authorities had initially refrained from reading Dzhokhar his Miranda Rights, because he is a suspected terrorist. It is understood he has now been read his rights and they were reiterated at last night's hearing at the hospital.

Preliminary interviews with Tsarnaev indicate the two brothers fit the classification of "self-radicalised jihadists" rather than being members of a wider terrorist network.

The decision to charge Tsarnaev in a civilian court "put an end to speculation that he would be charged as an enemy combatant, a designation sometimes used against terrorists," added CNN. A White House spokesman explained that because Tsarnaev is a naturalised US citizen he cannot be tried by a military commission.

Meanwhile, the FBI has defended itself against allegations it "dropped the ball" in its monitoring of Tamerlan Tsarnaev. Law enforcement officials told the New York Times they had "no legal basis to monitor him in the months leading up to the attack".

The agency first investigated Tamerlan in 2011 when Russia revealed he was "a follower of radical Islam". The case was closed after the FBI concluded that the Chechen did not pose a terrorist threat. If the agency had continued to investigate the 26-year-old without "additional information" it would have been a violation of federal guidelines, a senior law enforcement official said.

Krystle Campbell, 29, one of three people who died in the marathon bombings, was buried at Medford, Massachusetts yesterday. An honour guard of firefighters and police stood to attention and saluted as pallbearers carried Campbell's casket down Medford's main street, reports the Boston Globe. More than 200 people packed St Joseph church where the restaurant manager was remembered for her smile and her "big blue eyes".

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