Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, suspect
Despite the fact that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is facing death penalty worthy charges for allegedly killing 3 people and wounding 180 others by carrying out the Boston Marathon bombings, he has developed a growing fan base of supporters online.
Since he was brought into custody and hospitalized Friday, a number of users on Twitter have shared empathic messages toward the 19-year-old suspected terrorist with the hashtag "#FreeJahar". Others have tweeted that Tsarnaev is innocent and that the explosions were a part of a conspiracy. Young women have even posted messages in adoration of him.
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A petition on Change.org, which has acquired around 5,000 signatures, states that the video evidence pointing to Dzhokhar as the suspect is faulty and demands that the U.S. reveal the truth in this case.
"We believe that within the chaos caused by the Boston Marathon explosion, two young men were wrongfully accused of something they did not do, and one of them has lost his life before even getting the opportunity of a proper trial," reads the petition.
"We do not wish to see blood of yet another innocent victim, someone who, by US law, is innocent until proven guilty. It is vital to end this persecution, as all the conflicting information shown by the media, and footage from the incident, seen by people from all corners of the world, doesn't manifest itself as enough evidence to condemn Dzhokhar Tsarnaev of this heinous crime. You promised to the world that you would get to the bottom of this, and we hope you keep your word. We want evidence. We want truth. We want justice."
Many of the #freejahar tweets highlight "evidence" of Tsarneav's innocence, including images depicting differences between bags. Websites like Infowars speculate that the FBI and other authorities were complacent or that the bombing was a false flag operation.
On the other hand, a number of users have used the #FreeJahar hashtage to condemn his supporters. According to The Verge, one person tweeted, "#freejahar What!? He's a #Terrorist scumbag and he deserves to fry," says one Twitter user, before adding "all u sympathizers can burn in Hell too."