With Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in custody, some on social media have already reached the conclusion that the 19-year-old suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings is innocent.
Tsarnaev, a naturalized U.S. citizen who tweeted under the name “Jahar,” has been receiving support in recent days from people on Twitter, many tweeting under the hashtag #freejahar.
Call me crazy, but I know Jahar is innocent. There is no evidence whatsoever, you’re all going by what the police SAID. #freejahar
— Slynn (@Shauntelx3) April 21, 2013
— ChaeMorgann (@ChaeMorgann) April 21, 2013
Don’t believe everything you hear and see on the news. Governments have lied to us before. #FreeJahar He is an innocent man!!
— #musicismylife (@Nevan_W) April 20, 2013
Still convinced it’s all a set up #FreeJahar
— Dilveen Darwesh (@dilveend) April 19, 2013
Others tweeted #PrayforJahar.
That would be plain stupid. Obviously its a set up. But no one can say shit since the government has its hands on everything #prayforjahar
— Nour Issa (@NourIssaaa) April 20, 2013
At least one Twitter user suggested making t-shirts:
We should make “free jahar” T-shirts 🙂 ! #jaharisinnocent
— Mariammm (@WTHHH_) April 21, 2013
Another user determined that Tsarnaev is so innocent he will be able to turn a hefty profit following his release.
— Sabrina ™ (@Saberella_) April 20, 2013
As of publication a Facebook group titled “Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is innocent” had over 4,790 members. The “About” section of the open group explained in five words, “this is a set up!”
Tsarnaev, a Chechen who arrived in the United States from Kyrgyzstan, has also elicited sympathy from supporters who believe he is being targeted because of his Muslim faith. “I hate how when anything happens it always has to be the Muslims why does the American Gov. hate the Muslims so much?” Facebook user Justin Abbott posted on the page.
Another “closed group” on Facebook with 31 members declares, “Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is Innocent Until Proof is Shown!!”
“They clearly are blaming dzhokhar tsarnaev of being involved in the boston massacre, where is the alleged proof of this? I only see a boy with a backpack but yet there were many people with backpacks,” the page explains. “Show us proof! maybe even his brother did it but not Dzhokhar i don’t believe it.”
Another group with 76 members named simply “Dzhokhar Tsarnaev” features the creator of the group posting comments praising Tsarnaev as “the hero, our hero” and “the legend of the boston marathon.”
Many on Twitter and Facebook have pushed back against the #FreeJahar and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is innocent meme. “Let’s just go ahead and arrest the fools who think Jahar is innocent. That kind of stupidity should be illegal. #freejahar,” tweeted RB@RBPundit.
Another Tsarnaev critic, @kesgardner, tweeted a photo of Tsarnaev in the crowd at the Marathon just prior to the bombings, along with the caption: “Hey, #FreeJahar! The boy was murdered by Jahar. The little girl next to him? She lost her legs.”