Boston bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is innocent, according to posters that have begun to appear on walls around Chechnya’s capital, Grozny.
Authorities in Chechnya are currently trying to find out who distributed the posters, which declare Tsarnaev “not guilty” and appeared after Russia’s May Day celebrations.
The black-and-white posters feature images of Tsarnaev and his mother, Zubeidat, above an appeal for online donations. A block of Chechen text beneath the images reads:
“This is Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, a 19-year-old lad accused of a terrorist attack in Boston. But as many people now know, that is a groundless accusation, there is absolutely no evidence against him.
“Now he is in a serious condition, in a prison hospital, he needs medical and legal help. Dzhokhar’s parents ask you for help, to collect money for their son, whom they cannot lose, as they have already lost the older son, cruelly, unjustly. We will be grateful for any help, in the name of the Almighty do not remain indifferent.”
The posters, which authorities are hurriedly taking down as they appear, also include a number for the Russian online payment system, Qiwi Wallet. The Tsarnaev family address in the Russian social network VKontakte is also listed.
Residents of Grozny believe the Dzhokhar Tsarnaev posters may have come from someone trying to make money from the April 15 bombings.
The Tsarnaev family are ethnic Chechens but have lived mostly outside Chechnya. The family have reportedly lived in Kyrgyzstan and Dagestan, another Russian republic in the North Caucasus which shares a border with Chechnya.
Russian news agency Interfax reports pro-Tsarnaev pamphlets have also appeared in Bishkek, the Kyrgyz capital. Local police are investigating the matter.