Why the alleged Boston bombers' mom probably won't be extradited (+video)
Zubeidat Tsarnaeva may stay out of American custody because the US and Russia do not have a bilateral extradition treaty, despite efforts by Moscow to negotiate one.
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Tsarnaeva's ex-husband, Anzor, is a Chechen and, judging by their social media postings, their two sons appear to have identified closely with the long trail of suffering that comprises much of Chechen history.Skip to next paragraph
Fred Weir has been the Monitor's Moscow correspondent, covering Russia and the former Soviet Union, since 1998.
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Both live today in Makhachkala, the Caspian port city that is Dagestan's capital. Anzor had earlier said that he wanted to return to the US, to attend his son Tamerlan's funeral, talk to Dzhokhar, and "find out the truth" about what happened to them. However, following an impassioned news conference Thursday, Tsarnaeva told journalists that her former husband was being transported to a hospital in Moscow to be treated for "nerves, head, stomach, and elevated blood pressure."
Tsarnaeva, dressed in black and wearing a hijab, told journalists last Thursday that she's certain her two sons were "set up" and were innocent of any wrongdoing. She added that she was sorry the family ever left Dagestan in 2002 to move to the US. If they hadn't gone, "my kids would be with us, and we would be, like, fine," she said, speaking excellent English. "So, yes, I would prefer not to live in America now! Why did I even go there? Why? I thought America is going to, like, protect us, our kids, it’s going to be safe."
According to news reports, there is an outstanding arrest warrant in the US for Tsarnaeva, over her failure to appear in court last October to answer charges of shoplifting in a Massachusetts clothing store.
She and her former husband met with a visiting team of FBI investigators in the Makhachkala FSB headquarters last week. If she chooses not to return to the US, there is probably nothing authorities can do to compel her, even if more serious allegations against her appear.
The US and Russia do not have a bilateral extradition treaty, despite repeated requests by Moscow to negotiate one. And the Russian constitution forbids the extradition of Russian citizens – Tsarnaeva reportedly did not renounce her Russian citizenship when she was naturalized in the US – a stipulation the Russians frequently invoke when Western law enforcement agencies ask Moscow to hand over people on their wanted lists.
Someone claiming to be Tsarnaeva opened a Twitter account Saturday, @Tsarnaeva, and posted a picture of a purported Tsarnaev aunt, Patimat Suleimanova, asking supporters to send donations to a numbered account in Russia's state-owned Sberbank to "get a good lawyer" for Dzhokhar. The account has since gained nearly 500 followers, and a tweet by @Tsarnaeva on Sunday morning claimed that $2,000 had already been raised.
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