MAKHACHKALA, Dagestan April 23, 2013 -- The mother of the Boston bombing suspects said today that her sons were only guilty of being Muslim.
Zubeidat Tsarnaeva left her house accompanied by her brother-in-law and tried to evade the crowd of television cameras that followed her. She ignored questions from reporters, but when ABC News asked her "What did your son do?" Tsarnaeva turned and shouted "My son just was Muslim. My son was Muslim, that's it."
Then she and the relative got into a taxi and sped away, ending her first appearance in public since Friday's bloody standoff with police that left her older son Tamerlan Tsarnaev dead and ended when his younger brother Dzhokhar was captured alive.
Moments before the mother emerged from the house, a spokeswoman for the family told reporters the suspects' parents did not want to talk to reporters because they are grieving. She said the mother could only look at a photo of her son, which has been circulating on the internet and claims to be his naked dead body, and cry.
"She is in a difficult condition and she can't talk," the spokeswoman, local human rights activist Heda Seratova, said. "She doesn't understand what she says."
A lawyer for Seratova's organization also addressed reporters and said the suspects' parents are still in shock. Despite claims by both parents that their sons were framed and killed by the United States government, the lawyer expressed support for the investigation into last week's Boston Marathon bombings and the subsequent standoff on Friday.
The parents plan to travel to the United States to collect Tamerlan's body, the lawyer said.
"The father wants to go to the United States to find justice," he said.
In a phone interview with ABC News on Monday, Tsarnaeva said she had encouraged Tamerlan to embrace Islam about five years ago. Tamerlan traveled to this restive region in southern Russia, home to an Islamic insurgency, last year for about six months. Investigators are exploring whether he became radicalized during that trip or met any militants here. Family members insist Tamerlan's views of Islam were formed in the United States.