Friends of alleged Boston bomber face charges
Three friends and fellow students of one of the alleged Boston bombers face charges related to the investigation into the April 15 attack, court documents showed Wednesday, dpa reported.
Two of the men, Dias Kadyrbayev and Azamat Tazhayakov, face charges of obstructing justice by destroying evidence for allegedly disposing of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's backpack containing empty firework shells and his laptop computer, according to an affidavit filed in US District Court. The men are Kazakh nationals studying in the US on student visas.
The third man Robel Phillipos, a US citizen, is charged with making false statements to investigators.
The men were students at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth who began their studies at the same time as Tsarnaev.
At a court hearing in Boston, the three men waived bail, the Boston Globe reported.
The suspects allegedly went to Tsarnaev's dormitory room and removed his backpack and laptop after the FBI published photos of the bombing suspects and they realized Tsarnaev was involved in the bombing. They later decided to throw the items away in a dumpster outside the Kazakh students' apartment, the affidavit said.
They allegedly spoke with Tsarnaev after the bombing and later exchanged text messages with him, noting he looked like the bomber shown on television.
They are not accused of having knowledge of the attack before the bombing.
Kadyrbayev and Tazhayakov face a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a 250,000-dollar fine if convicted, while Phillipos could face a maximum sentence of eight years in prison and a 250,000-dollar fine, the US Attorney's Office said.
Lawyers for the men said their clients had nothing to do with the bombing and had cooperated with authorities.
The Boston police announced the arrests of the three men earlier Wednesday and later said there was no threat to public safety.
Dual bombings at the Boston Marathon killed three spectators and wounded more than 200 others near the race's finish line.
The suspects, Tamerlan Tsarnaev and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, allegedly later killed a police officer before leading law enforcement officials on a manhunt.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, was killed in a shootout with police during the chase while his younger brother, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, escaped and was captured hours later. He is now in a prison hospital and has been questioned by authorities.
A police officer injured in the shootout that killed the older brother issued a statement Wednesday saying he was now alert and moving with the help of a walker.