Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Father of Chechen Killed in Florida Says FBI Murdered Him

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Father of Chechen Killed in Florida Says FBI Murdered Him

Article excerpt

MOSCOW -- After FBI agents questioned Ibragim Todashev for hours on end about one of the suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing, his father alleged Thursday, they murdered him to keep him from talking.

Abdulbaki Todashev, who applied Thursday for a U.S. visa so he can pick up his son's body in Orlando, Fla., where he died, said he has heard nothing from U.S. officials about the May 22 shooting. "I want justice. I want an investigation," he said at a Moscow news conference. "They come to your house like bandits, and they shoot you."

Ibragim Todashev, 27, was an acquaintance of Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the alleged organizer of the Boston bombing. Todashev had moved to Florida two years ago from Massachusetts, his father said. He said FBI officials questioned his son on three separate occasions this spring.

The first time, they asked him about the bombings. The second time, his father said, they asked him about a triple murder in Waltham, Mass., that police suspect Tsarnaev may have carried out. The third interview, which took place at Todashev's home and included Massachusetts state troopers, ended with his death, his father said.

Despite earlier accounts of the incident that suggested Todashev had a weapon, two law enforcement officials said in interviews Wednesday that he was not armed. His father said he was shot seven times. The FBI has said he attacked an agent just moments after confessing to his part in the Waltham slayings.

On Thursday, the medical examiner's office in Orange County, Fla., referred all calls to the FBI.

The elder Mr. Todashev displayed photographs of his son's body that he said show six shots to the body and a "control" shot to the back of the head. The photos are apparently the same pictures as those shown at a Florida news conference Wednesday with Todashev's widow and the Florida chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations .

"This is proof of cold-blooded murder," said Maxim Shevchenko, a journalist and member of the presidential human rights council, who organized Thursday's news conference with Mr. Todashev.

It was an "extrajudicial execution," said Chechen lawyer Zaurbek Sadakhanov, who also was present. "Why was he interrogated three times without a lawyer? Why no recording? Why seven shots? And why should I believe their version? Why do American policemen believe they can do whatever they want?"

Todashev's father said his son had been planning to return to Chechnya on May 24, though he had apparently canceled his tickets before he was killed May 22. He suggested that the FBI didn't want his son to return to Russia. "Maybe my son knew some sort of information that the police didn't want to get out," he said. "They shut him up. That's my opinion."

Ibragim Todashev was the eldest of 12 children. His father said the family fled Chechnya after the wars of secession erupted, eventually finding a haven in the Volga River city of Saratov. …

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