Nightly News   |  April 22, 2013

Boston bombing suspects' dad asks for proof

In an emotional interview with NBC News, the father of the two brothers suspected of setting off two bombs at the Boston Marathon insisted his son Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was an innocent child and brother Tamerlan a gifted boxer who was “very religious” and homesick. NBC’s Adrienne Mong reports.

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>>> much of the focus of the investigation now concerns the region of the world where these accused brothers once lived. specifically what the older brother did there when he went home for a six-month period. nbc news london-based correspondent adrian mong went to the russian republic of dagestan and spoke with the suspect's father.

>> reporter: half a world away from boston, anzar tsarnaev struggles to understand. he cannot believe his boys were behind the carnage in boston. the last time he spoke to them was thursday night, three days after the bombings. i asked, how are things, he said. like it was any other normal conversation. anzar calls dzhokhar an innocent child and described tamerlan as a gifted boxer but gentle and homesick. he said during tamerlan 's visit last year he talked about moving back. but if tamerlan had become alienated in america, angry or radicalized his father said he didn't see it. and tamerlan was already religious here, visiting a mosque every day, one many say has ties to radical islam .

>> they have arrested people from this mosque, said this man, a government security adviser. anzar would not discuss tamerlan 's religious beliefs . his mother was too upset to appear on camera. they insist their sons are innocent. i need facts, proof, the father cries. they have destroyed the reputation of all of us. anzar had been planning to fly to the u.s. tomorrow. now he's staying to meet russian authorities. like everyone, they have questions. adrian mong, nbc news, dagestan.