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An 'explosive' Rolling Stone cover

The magazine has been accused of glamourising a terrorist.

There has been public outrage over the cover of Rolling Stone Magazine's August edition depicting the Boston bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.Picture:Rollingstone.com

BOSTON - Boston officials have reacted with outrage to an upcoming cover of Rolling Stone magazine featuring an image of accused Boston marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

The cover has been described by Boston Mayor Thomas Menino as "a disgrace."

The magazine has however defended its decision.

"The cover story we are publishing this week falls within the traditions of journalism," the magazine's editors said. "The fact that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is young, and in the same age group as many of our readers, makes it all the more important for us to examine the complexities of this issue."

Tsarnaev is the survivor of a pair of brothers accused of carrying out the worst mass-casualty attack on US soil since 11 September, 2001.

Three people were killed and more than 260 injured at the Boston Marathon on 15 April by homemade pressure-cooker bombs.

The August issue of the magazine depicts Tsarnaev, with long, shaggy hair and sporting a light beard and moustache, over the headline: The bomber: How a popular, promising student was failed by his family, fell into radical Islam and became a monster.

The article reveals a few new details about Tsarnaev, including that he once told a high school friend he believed terrorist attacks could be justified and he "took his religion seriously."

The decision has drawn a wave of outrage on social media networks.

Tsarnaev and his 26-year-old brother Tamerlan plotted the marathon attacks months in advance, travelling to New Hampshire to buy fireworks that they used in building the bombs.

Three days after the attack, the FBI unveiled video stills of the two near the finish line, in the hope that members of the public would be able to identify them.

That prompted the pair to try and flee the city.

Prosecutors say the men first killed a Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer in an unsuccessful effort to steal his gun, and then engaged in a gun battle with police that ended when Dzhokhar ran over his older brother, a factor which contributed to Tamerlan's death.

Dzokhar's escape led to a day-long manhunt that ended with his arrest late on 19 April.

Tsarnaev appeared in court for the first time last week, and pleaded not guilty to all charges in a 30-count indictment.

He faces the possibility of the death penalty if convicted.

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