The father of a Chechen man who was shot dead during an FBI interview over his possible involvement in the Boston Marathon bombings has accused US authorities of “executing” his son.
Ibrahim Todashev, 27, was shot by FBI agents earlier this month during questioning at his home in Florida, after allegedly attacking them with a kitchen knife.
Yesterday, his father Abdulbaki Todashev produced photographs of his son’s corpse at a press conference in Moscow that apparently showed several gunshot wounds, including one “execution shot” to the head.
Mr Todashev said his son Ibrahim travelled to the US in 2008 on a language exchange and decided to stay, receiving a Green Card two months ago. He says his son knew Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the elder of the two brothers whom US authorities have accused of planning and executing the Boston bombings, as the two men attended the same boxing gym in Boston.
However, he said his son had not seen either Tsarnaev brother for at least two years, as he had moved from Boston to Orlando, Florida, and had no involvement in the planning of the bombings at the Boston Marathon last month.
Ibrahim had already been questioned twice by the FBI, and had bought a ticket to visit his relatives in Chechnya, but was asked by US investigators to remain in the country. Mr Todashev said that his son had been shot seven times.
Zaurbek Sadakhanov, a lawyer for the family, said that Mr Todashev had been subjected to an “extrajudicial killing” in the US.
“Why was there no lawyer present? Why were no recordings made of the interview?” he said. Mr Todashev called for an independent investigation into his son’s death. He said he had been told that there was only an internal FBI investigation into the killing.
The photographs had been passed to him by a local Islamic organisation, which took possession of the corpse after it was released from a morgue in Orlando.
Mr Todashev yesterday visited the US Embassy in Moscow to request a visa so that he could travel to America to collect his son’s body. He is due to learn the outcome of his application today[Friday].
Initially, US law enforcement officials said that Ibrahim Todashev had “gone crazy” and brandished a knife at officers, instigating the shooting. This week however, another source with direct knowledge of the case told the Washington Post that Ibrahim Todashev had no weapon at all. He flipped over a table and lunged at an officer, according to the source.
The FBI has released a terse statement saying it is “currently reviewing” the shooting incident. “The agent, two Massachusetts State Police troopers, and other law enforcement personnel were interviewing an individual in connection with the Boston Marathon bombing investigation when a violent confrontation was initiated by the individual,” reads the statement. “During the confrontation, the individual was killed and the agent sustained non-life threatening injuries.”
Some US media have also linked Todashev and the Tsarnaev brothers to a triple murder in Waltham, Massachussetts. The victims in the unsolved case had their throats slashed and their bodies were sprinkled with marijuana. One of the men killed was reportedly a former friend and roommate of Tamerlan Tsarnaev. Sources told ABC News that Ibrahim Todashev was about to sign a statement admitting that he and Tamerlan Tsarnaev had been involved in the murders.
Todashev’s father said the claims were nonsense. “I know my son,” he said. “There is no way he could have been involved in anything at all like that.”
In the US, the Council on American-Islamic Relations said this week it was asking for a probe into Todashev’s death, while in Russia, there is anger that the incident is not being taken more seriously.
“We have not seen any of the furious human rights defenders like Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International speak out on this case,” said Maxim Shevchenko, a pro-Kremlin journalist and politician who is part of Russia’s Presidential Council on Human Rights. “These organisations are always attacking Russia, and particularly events in Chechnya, but for some reason they are being silent now.”
Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, was killed in a shootout with police in the aftermath of the Boston bombings, which killed three people and injured over 200. His younger brother Dzhokhar, 19, is being held in a prison medical centre outside Boston, as he continues to recover from gunshot wounds. The family of the brothers, who live in the restive southern Russian region of Dagestan, have claimed that the pair were framed. If convicted of using a weapon of mass destruction, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev could face the death penalty.Reuse content