The government of Kazakhstan emphasized today that two young Kazakhs charged in the Boston Marathon bombings probe were not charged with any involvement in the bombings themselves.
“We would like to emphasize that our citizens did not receive charges of involvement in the organization of Boston marathon bombings. They were charged with destroying evidence,” the Kazakh Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement posted on its website.
The statement also said “their guilt has not been proven and the investigation is ongoing.”
But it added, “As we have repeatedly stressed, Kazakhstan strongly condemns any form of terrorism. The Kazakhstan side is cooperating with the U.S. law enforcement bodies in their investigation.”
Azamat Tazhayakov and Dias Kadyrbayev, both 19 and of New Bedford, were charged with conspiracy to obstruct justice by plotting to dispose of a laptop computer and a backpack containing fireworks belonging to bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the US attorney’s office said Wednesday.
A third man, Robel Phillipos, 19, of Cambridge was charged with making false statements to law enforcement officials in a terrorism investigation, prosecutors said.
All three were college friends of Tsarnaev’s at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.
The arrests represented the latest dramatic twist in the case, one that introduces to the saga three teenagers, text messages, and Tsarnaev’s alleged light-hearted reference to the bombings. Arrest documents revealed that Tsarnaev had told his friends a month before the Marathon that he knew how to make a bomb, the Globe reports today.
Three people were killed and more than 260 were injured by the two blasts that went off near the Marathon finish line on the afternoon of April 15. Tsarnaev, 19, and his brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, allegedly planted the bombs. The brothers also allegedly killed an MIT police officer during their attempt to escape the area several days later.
Police caught up with the Tsarnaevs in Watertown in the early morning hours of April 19. Tamerlan Tsarnaev died after a shootout with police on a quiet street. Police say they were subduing him when he was hit and dragged by a car driven by his younger brother, who was fleeing.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev eluded police for hours, but was eventually caught later the same day in Watertown. He faces federal charges of using a weapon of mass destruction and malicious destruction of property resulting in death. Both carry a possible death penalty sentence. No charges have been filed yet in the MIT officer’s death.