ASTANA – Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced on May 2 that the Kazakhstan authorities were working with the U.S. counterparts on the case of two students from Kazakhstan who were charged by United States authorities on May 1 with obstruction of justice in connection with the terrorist bombings of the Boston Marathon.
Students Dias Kadyrbayev and Azamat Tazhayakov were charged with hindering the investigation into the attacks by removing items from the dormitory room of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, one of two ethnic Chechen brothers accused of carrying out the attacks. The two bombings on April 15 at the end of the annual marathon race killed three people including an eight-year-old girl and a Chinese tourist and injured another 260 people.
Kadyrbayev and Tazhayakov will face a hearing on May 14. They also faced preliminary hearings the same day for violation of their student visa status. The hearings in that case were postponed until May 22 for Kadyrbayev and May 9 for Tazhayakov.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) in Astana announced on May 2 that the government of Kazakhstan was cooperating with U.S. law enforcement authorities in the investigation into the two students.
“As we have repeatedly stressed, Kazakhstan strongly condemns any form of terrorism,” the MFA said. “The Kazakhstan side is cooperating with the U.S. law enforcement bodies in their investigation.”
“We would like to emphasize that our citizens were not charged with involvement in the organization of Boston marathon bombings,” the MFA said. “They were charged with destroying evidence.”
The MFA said Kadyrbayev and Tazhayakov were already receiving “the necessary consular assistance” but did not give any details. “Their guilt has not been proven and the investigation is ongoing,” it said.
The MFA said Kadyrbayev and Tazhayakov were cooperating with the U.S. investigative agencies in the case.
Kadyrbayev’s lawyer Robert Stahl said his client “did not have anything to do” with the bombings and disputed accusations that he had tried to obstruct the investigation.
Tazhayakov’s lawyer Harlan Protass said his client “has cooperated fully with the authorities and looks forward to the truth coming out in this case.”
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, has been charged with the attacks. His brother Tamerlan, 26, was killed in a shoot-out with authorities, during which Dzhokhar was seriously wounded and captured.
In related news, on April 28 Almaty, Kazakhstan’s largest city, held a charity marathon that honoured the Boston Marathon victims, starting with a minute of silence to honour the victims.