Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Tsarnaevas' mother on terrorism watch list

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BOSTON -- The mother of the Boston Marathon bombings suspects -- who has professed their innocence, vowed to renounce her U.S. citizenship and insisted the horrific twin blasts were staged -- is herself on a terrorism watch list and may have crucial information as feds press on with the probe, a senator briefed on the investigation said.

Zubeidat Tsarnaeva was added to a government terrorism database 18 months ago, after the Russian government told the CIA in fall 2011 she and her son, accused bomb-plot mastermind Tamerlan Tsarnaev, had become religious militants, according to a report by The Associated Press. The FBI had investigated them earlier but found no link to terrorism.

"Nobody likes what she's saying. I don't want to see anybody allowed in the country who's on the terrorist watch list," U.S. Sen. James Risch, R-Idaho, a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, told the Boston Herald Friday.

"There is some thought that she has some information that may be usable as we go forward with this, or other matters. Given that, it's appropriate for (investigators) to have her back in the country," Risch added.

Tsarnaeva is a naturalized U.S. citizen who lived in Cambridge, Mass., and worked as an aesthetician in a Belmont beauty shop and her Norfolk Street apartment until she moved back to Russia last year.

News of Russia's suspicion of Tsarnaeva comes amid questions on whether religious extremism motivated the deadly blasts. An uncle of Tamerlan Tsarnaev has said the young man was radicalized by a shadowy mentor named Misha, described by Zubeidat Tsarnaeva as a red-bearded Armenian who has since left the area.

"When Misha visited us, he just opened our eyes really wide about Islam... He's devoted and he's a very good, very nice man," she told CNN this week.

Authorities say Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, and his brother, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, detonated two bombs at the marathon finish line, killing three and injuring more than 280.

Tsarnaeva, speaking from Dagestan Friday, said she's "sick and tired" of her family being tagged as terrorists.

"It's all lies and hypocrisy," she said. "I'm sick and tired of all this nonsense that they make up about me and my children. People know me as a regular person, and I've never been mixed up in any criminal intentions, especially any link to terrorism."

-- Boston Herald

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 28, 2013 A6

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