Two friends of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev have been charged with obstruction. A federal grand jury indicted the pair on Thursday. They are being accused of trying to tamper with and hide key evidence of their friend’s involvement in the April 15 attack.
Dias Kadyrbayev and Azamat Tazhayakov, both aged 19, have been living in New Bedford, Massachusetts on student visas. Both are citizens of Kazakhstan. If they are found guilty of charges of willingly impeding the investigation of the Boston Marathon bombing they may face 25 years in prison and deportation, reports USA Today.
Prosecutors say the two, with another friend, took Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s backpack from his dorm room. They threw it away in the trash, after seeing it filled with evidence of bomb-making. One of these materials included fireworks, which the Tsarnaevs allegedly used to collect explosive powder for their bombs.
The charges against Kadyrbayev and Tazhayakov will be filed formally next week. According to ABC News, Kadyrbayev’s lawyer, Robert Stahl, says his client did not knowingly obstruct the investigation. He describes Kadyrbayev as stunned by the knowledge that his friend, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, had been announced as a suspect in the bombings.
Stahl says Kadyrbayev did as he was told by the FBI, having talked to agents for almost 12 hours over two days with no lawyer or embassy official present. Kadyrbayev also gave over requested evidence to the FBI, including Dzhokhar’s computer and told them where they could find the backpack.
Prosecutors say Kadyrbayev and Tazhayakov were friends of the Tsarnaevs. When they saw the bombing suspects’ pictures released publicly by the FBI, Kadyrbayev got a text message from Dzhokhar. It told him to “take what’s there” from his dorm room.
The backpack that Kadyrbayev and Tazhayakov are accused of discarding took federal agents two days of searching a landfill to find.
Surviving Boston Marathon bombing suspect, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, is currently standing trial for his role in the attacks and plead not guilty.
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