An angry uncle of the two Boston bombing suspects pleaded on Friday with one nephew still on the run to “turn yourself in and ask forgiveness” from victims of the worst US terror attack since 9/11.
In an impassioned 10-minute interview with reporters outside his Maryland home, Ruslan Tsarni said his nephews “put a shame on the entire Chechen ethnicity” and expressed a desire to apologise personally to the victims.
“I’m ready just to bend in front of them, to kneel in front of them seeking their forgiveness,” a visibly moved Tsarni said, stressing that his own family has had “nothing to do” with his brother’s family for several years.
Tsarni’s nephews Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev are the prime suspects in Monday’s bombings at the finish of the Boston Marathon.
Tamerlan died after a shootout with law enforcement, and the city is on virtual lockdown amid a massive manhunt for the younger brother.
“Dzhokhar, if you’re alive, turn yourself in and ask for forgiveness,” Tsarni said, adding he was “shocked” to see FBI images of his nephews on television and the internet.
Tsarni said he is legally in the United States and that his family are ethnic Chechen Muslims.
But he said the two suspects had never been to Chechnya, a mainly Muslim region in southern Russia, and were unlikely to be involved in the unrest of recent years there.
“If that happened, most likely somebody radicalised them.”
Tsarni said his nephews arrived in the United States from Kyrgyzstan, in Central Asia, in 2003 and were given asylum, but he called them “losers” who could not integrate into American life.
Asked why they might have turned to terrorism, he said: “Hatred to those who were able to settle themselves.
“These are the only reasons I can imagine. Anything else, anything else to do with religion, with Islam, it’s a fraud,” he said. “It’s a fake.”
Tsarni, dressed in a light blue polo shirt and standing outside a brick home in Montgomery County, Maryland, sounded anguished about what had transpired.
“Of course we’re ashamed,” he said. “I respect this country. I love this country.”
“This country, which gives chance to everybody else to be treated as a human being... that’s what I feel about this country.”