CRIME
04/22/2013 01:11 pm ET | Updated Apr 22, 2013

Bombing Suspects' Aunt Says She Is Target Of Threats, Maintains Nephews 'Victims Of The Conspiracy'

AP

The aunt of the men suspected of bombing the Boston Marathon claims she has received threats since telling the media she thinks her nephews may have been framed.

Maret Tsarnaeva, the aunt of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and his deceased brother Tamerlan Tsarnaev, spoke Friday to reporters gathered in her hometown of Toronto, Canada, about the case against her nephews. She alleged that photographs showing Dzhokhar and Tamerlan at the scene of the bombing could have been "staged."

On Saturday, the suspects' aunt revealed she has received threats since making such claims.

“They are calling us, calling names, threatening, saying it’s time to go home,” Maret told Canada's Sun News. “Yes, it is time. We did not find that promise -- democracy -- in this country. But if I go home, I will go home only with bodies of my nephews.”

Tamerlan, 26, died after a shootout with Boston police on Friday morning. A cause of death has not yet been determined.

“They made our boys enemies of the American nation,” she told Sun News. “They made them victims of the conspiracy. ... They needed somebody to blame for something they committed themselves so they got them. So rejoice people, rejoice."

The suspects' mother also believes the two are being used as scapegoats. Speaking with Russia Today, Zubeidat Tsarnaeva claimed that Dzhokhar and Tamerlan -- the latter of whom was questioned by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in 2011 after the Russian government suggested he might have been following radical Islamic leaders -- are innocent.

“They used to come [to our] home, they used to talk to me…they were telling me that he [Tamerlan] was really an extremist leader and that they were afraid of him," she told RT. "They told me whatever information he is getting, he gets from these extremist sites… they were controlling him, they were controlling his every step…and now they say that this is a terrorist act! Never ever is this true, my sons are innocent!”

Federal terrorism charges could be filed against 19-year-old Dzhokhar soon, CNN reported this weekend. He is suspected of having bombed the Boston Marathon on April 15, resulting in the death of three and injury of more than 180. He may also be brought up on state murder charges relating to the death of MIT police officer Sean Collier.

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