Investigators Question Parents Of Boston Bombing Suspects

Officials from the U.S. Embassy in Moscow were in Dagestan in southern Russia on Wednesday to question the parents of the Tsarnaev brothers.

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Now, a rare, joint effort between American investigators and Russian security services. They're working together trying to turn up more information on the two suspects in last week's Boston Marathon bombings.

NPR's Corey Flintoff reports that a team of U.S. investigators is now in the southern Russian Republic of Dagestan and they've talked to the parents of Dzhokhar a Tamerlan Tsarnaev.

(SOUNDBITE OF A CROWD)

ZUBEIDAT TSARNAEV: (Foreign language spoken)

COREY FLINTOFF, BYLINE: Yesterday, Zubeidat Tsarnaev, the suspect's mother, passed through a scrum of reporters on her way to an interview with investigators from the Russian Federal Security Service, known as the FSB. Angry and distraught, she seemed to be weaving a conspiracy theory of her own.

TSARNAEV: They killed him. They were being killed just because they were Muslims - nothing else.

FLINTOFF: Zarabek Sadahanoff(ph), a Moscow lawyer who's become a family spokesman, said Tsarnaev had been shot earlier in the day by seeing an Internet image of the body of her dead son, Tamerlan.

ZARABEK SADAHANOFF: (Foreign language spoken)

FLINTOFF: Sadahanoff said that the mother met yesterday and again today with both Russian and American officials, including investigators from the FBI - a fact that was confirmed by the U.S. Embassy in Moscow.

The family spokesman said that the bombing suspects' father, Anzor Tsarnaev, had also been called to the FSB headquarters here in Dagestan, but was too ill to go. Sadahanoff said that he had not discussed what kinds of questions Ms. Tsarnaev had been asked.

Hedda Sorotava(ph), a Chechen human rights activist who's been supporting the family, said the mother described the conversations as cordial. One thing that FBI investigators are probing is what Tamerlan was doing during a six-month visit to Dagestan last year. The, and the Russians, want to know whether he made contact with Islamist extremists who've been waging an insurgency against the Russian government for years.

Sorotava said the parents want to go back to the United States as quickly as possible, perhaps as early as tomorrow.

HEDDA SOROTOVA: (Foreign language spoken)

FLINTOFF: She said the parents are discussing a trip to the American authorities, because they want to find out about the condition of their younger son, and see if funeral arrangements can be made for their eldest.

Corey Flintoff, NPR News, Dagestan, Russia.

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