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Not Real News: Boston bomber not severely beaten in prison

June 19, 2018
FILE - This undated file photo released by the FBI on April 19, 2013 shows Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who was convicted and sentenced to death in 2015 for his role in an attack that killed three people and injured more than 260. On Tuesday, June 19, 2018, The Associated Press has found that stories circulating on the internet that Tsarnaev was beaten by a white supremacist gang while in prison are untrue. (FBI via AP, File)

Convicted Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev (joh-HAHR’ tsahr-NEYE’-ehv) has not been beaten by a white supremacist gang while in prison despite a recurring online report that says he was severely injured in an attack.

The report posted Monday by Read Me Every Day relied word-for-word on a report that circulated online soon after Tsarnaev’s trial and sentencing in 2015. According to the reports, Tsarnaev slipped on a discarded banana peel, hit his head on the floor, and suffered “massive brain trauma,” but it was later determined he had been beaten, the Aryan Brotherhood claiming responsibility. The story dates to at least August 2015 when it appeared on empirenews.net, which in its disclaimer says it is “intended for entertainment purposes only” and uses fictional names “except in cases of public figure and celebrity parody or satirization.” Readmeeveryday.com says in its disclaimer it “does not warrant or make any representations concerning the accuracy” of material on its website. The website did not respond to an email.

Tsarnaev was sentenced to death after his conviction for setting off two homemade bombs at the marathon finish line in 2013, killing three and injuring more than 260. According to the Federal Bureau of Prisons online inmate locator, he is currently being held at the Supermax prison in Florence, Colorado.

The Bureau of Prisons in an emailed statement said while it does not share inmate health information “we can tell you that there is no evidence of a situation” as described in the report.

Tsarnaev’s appellate lawyer did not return calls for comment.


This is part of The Associated Press’ ongoing effort to fact-check misinformation that is shared widely online, including work with Facebook to identify and reduce the circulation of false stories on the platform.


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