Boston Bomber’s Friends Plead Not Guilty

Boston Marathon bombing

Two friends of Boston Bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev Entered Pleas of not guilty in federal court today. They are charged with obstruction of justice and conspiracy to obstruct justice for allegedly destroying evidence and trying to cover up for Tsarnaev.

Dias Kadyrbayev and Azamat Tazhayakov, both from Kazakhstan, befriended Tsarnaev at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. When they found out that he was wanted for the Boston Marathon bombing, which killed three and injured over 260, they allegedly went to Tsarnaev’s dorm room and took a laptop and a backpack, amongst other items. The backpack contained fireworks which had been opened so their components could be retrieved, as well as a jar of petroleum jelly, which can be used as a plasticizer for some types of explosives.

According to the indictment, it was Kadrybayev who received a text message from Tsarnaev reading “if yu want yu can go to my room and take what’s there…but ight bro Salam aleikum,” and suggested they dispose of the backpack, and Tazhayakov went along with the idea. They did this in a garbage container outside their apartment. If convicted they could be sentenced to up to 25 years in prison, and up to a $250,000 fine.

Robert Stahl, Kadrybayev’s attorney, said his client fully cooperated with investigators, giving them the laptop, and telling them where to find the backpack during a long interrogation without an attorney. He added that “as Dias’ family prays for the victims, they also pray for justice for their son, a law-abiding college student whose only crime was befriending a fellow student who spoke his more comfortable native language.”

Tazhayakov’s family was present in the courtroom, and Amir Ismagulov, his father, has been in the US since Tazhayakov was first implicated in the incident in April. The family believes “it appears he was just charged based on his presence there” as Kadrybayev took action.

Besides entering their not guilty pleas, the two friends of the Boston bomber were also given their next court date, for September 26.

Robel Phillipos, another of Tsarnaev’s friends was also arrested in the case. He has been released on $100,000 bond. Another condition of his bail is electronic monitoring.

Abdulbaki Todashev, father of Ibragim Todashev, who was killed by FBI agents during an interrogation in his apartment in Orlando, Florida on May 22, has said that upon arriving in the US with the intention of filing a wrongful death suit for that incident, FBI agents tried to meet with him; but he refused. According to FBI agents, after several hours of interrogation, Ibragim confessed to three murders in 2011, and implicated Tsarnaev as an accomplice, he then picked up a knife, and after injuring one investigator was shot and killed. The alleged murders he confessed to are thought to be part of a plot to bilk the victims of drugs, and are not thought to be related to the Boston Marathon bombing. The FBI, the US Department of Justice, and Orlando prosecutors have all launched investigations into the shooting

Like his two friends, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the surviving Boston bomber (his brother, an accomplice, was killed in a confrontation with police) has plead not guilty to 30 federal charges related to the bombing, and his actions after the fact.

By Milton Ruiz

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