In the days following the Boston Marathon bombing, the suspects (eventually identified as Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev) in the attack were perhaps the most hated men in America even before they were identified — but now, a hashtag supporting the surviving Tsarnaev, #FreeJahar, is popping up on Twitter.
Before the younger Tsarnaev was captured, the by all accounts average naturalized American citizen had already been “smoked out” on Twitter. The teen’s feed was revealed and a picture of a dude not unlike many 19-year-olds quickly emerged, with later interviews of “Jahar’s” friends further humanizing the young man later found cowering in a boat in Watertown.
It’s probably inevitable that the younger of the two and sole surviving suspect would attract some sympathy.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has been universally described by those who know him as a nice and personable kid, and few believed he’d be involved with an act like the one of which he has been accused.
Dzhokar was known among friends and acquaintances as the easier to pronounce “Jahar,” the name his Twitter feed (@J_tsar) bore — and his Americanized nickname has spawned a hashtag of its own and an unlikely wellspring of support on the microblogging site.
Predictably, much of the chatter under the #FreeJahar hashtag comes from the tinfoil hat set — those who have been infected by Alex Jones’ idea that the Boston attack was the latest in what is inevitably deemed a false flag event.
(Despite a lack of gun grabs or martial law that result, the idea persists.)
Even in the last few minutes, the #FreeJahar hashtag has been very active, with some tweets reading:
— Risrianafitria (@Risrianafitria) April 23, 2013
that video when you hear them shouting we didn’t do it yet the police continue to shoot them breaks my heart#FreeJahar
— 5sos follow me(@adoringhoran) April 23, 2013
— FALLEN FOR YOU (@RMSPVIP) April 23, 2013
It isn’t just Twitter showing users taking up for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev after his Friday arrest — a closed Facebook group (titled Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is innocent) shows more than 12,000 members.
In addition, a petition on Change.org titled “Petition to guarantee Dzhokhar Tsarnaev the right to a fair trial” has more than 6,000 signatures, and reads:
“We do not wish to see blood of yet another innocent victim, someone who, by U.S. 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.”
While the #FreeJahar hashtag is still scantly supported, the U.S. government did confirm this week that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev will not be tried as an “enemy combatant.”