Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s alleged mentor, a man nicknamed Misha, insists he had nothing to with radicalizing the older of the two Boston Marathon bombing suspects.
Tsarnaev’s uncle (and perhaps other relatives) have accused Misha — who now resides in Rhode Island with his elderly parents — of brainwashing his nephew. Misha insists these allegations are wholly false and that he’s never even met the family members who have lodged such accusations against him.
In an interview, Misha, real name Mikhail Allakhverdov, has admitted he is a convert to Islam and knew Tamerlan Tzarnaev when he — Misha — lived in Boston. But he strongly denied being the suspect’s mentor or influencing him in any way to commit acts of violence.
In support of his innocence, Misha added that he is actually assisting authorities in their probe of the April 15 terrorist bombing plot. He also claimed that it’s been three years since he had any communication with Tamerlan Tsarnaev.
“I wasn’t his teacher. If I had been his teacher, I would have made sure he never did anything like this … I’ve been cooperating entirely with the FBI. I gave them my computer and my phone and everything I wanted to show I haven’t done anything. And they said they are about to return them to me. And the agents who talked told me they are about to close my case.”
US law enforcement officials have apparently stated off the record that they have found no link between Misha (who is reported to be of Armenian-Ukrainian descent) and the bombing attack on April 15 at the Boston Marathon finish line. The terrorist attack killed three persons and wounded more than 200 others.
Tamaerlan Tsarnaev subsequently died in a shootout with police in Watertown, Mass., amidst a massive law enforcement manhunt, and his younger brother, Dzhokhar, was apprehended and is now in federal custody.