BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan (AFP) - Kyrgyzstan special services on Friday said they were looking for people who pasted up leaflets proclaiming the innocence of alleged Boston bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who spent his early childhood in the ex-Soviet state.
Black-and-white leaflets were pasted in central Bishkek in underpasses and outside the central department store with images of Tsarnaev at various ages and the caption "Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is innocent, pray for Dzhokhar", local media reported.
The Kyrgyz special services "are trying to find the distributors of these leaflets," their press office told AFP.
Tsarnaev, who has been charged over the deadly bombings after his brother Tamerlan was shot dead, spent his early years in a town outside Bishkek before his family moved to Dagestan in Russia and later to the United States (US).
His father is a Chechen whose family was forced to move to Central Asia in the 1940s when the entire Chechen people was deported from the Caucasus by Stalin at the end of World War II.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has been charged with federal terror offences over the twin blasts on April 15 that killed three and wounded 264 people at the Boston Marathon's finish line.
The leaflets in Kyrgyzstan called the charges against Tsarnaev baseless and said that his relatives were being slandered. They urged people to "give him help and support".
Similar leaflets appeared in Grozny, the capital of Chechnya, Kavkaz Uzel (Caucasian Knot) online news site reported, although this was denied by the authorities.
The text of a picture of a leaflet published by the website said: "This charge is baseless, there is not one piece of evidence against him."
It also asked people to donate money online to help his parents and included a link to a Russian-language social networking page titled "Dzhokhar is innocent."
The spokesman of Chechnya's strongman leader Ramzan Kadyrov, Mr Alvi Karimov, told Russia's Echo of Moscow radio station: "This is an absolute lie. There are no leaflets here."
Russian radio station Russkaya Sluzhba Novostei reported that at least one caller had seen a similar leaflet on a Moscow street.