WASHINGTON, Aug 8 (RIA Novosti) – The United States on Thursday formally charged two 19-year-old students from Kazakhstan with obstruction of justice over their alleged efforts to impede the investigation into the Boston Marathon bombing in April, officials announced.
Dias Kadyrbayev and Azamat Tazhayakov were charged with “conspiracy to obstruct justice and obstructing justice with the intent to impede the Boston Marathon bombing investigation,” the US Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts said in a statement.
The two could face up to 25 years in prison as well as three years of parole and a $250,000 fine if convicted on both counts, the statement said. They may also face deportation from the United States.
The attorney’s office said both men were citizens of the ex-Soviet republic of Kazakhstan and were living in Massachusetts on student visas when the attack was carried out on April 15 near the finish line of the Boston Marathon race.
The indictment alleges that on the evening of April 18, after photographs of the suspects in the attack, brothers Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, were circulated publicly, “Kadyrbayev received a text message from Dzhokhar Tsarnaev suggesting that he go to Tsarnaev’s ‘room and take what’s there.’”
“Kadyrbayev, Tazhayakov and another conspirator… then went to Tsarnaev’s dormitory room and removed several items, including Tsarnaev’s laptop computer and a backpack containing fireworks, and brought them to Kadyrbayev and Tazhayakov’s apartment in New Bedford,” the statement added.
The statement noted that the details in the indictment are allegations and that the two suspects are “presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.”
One of the men suspected of perpetrating the attack, 27-year-old Tamerlan Tsarnaev, was killed in a shootout with police less than a week after the attack, amid a massive manhunt centered on Boston and its suburbs. His younger brother, Dzhokhar, was captured after being wounded and is currently in prison awaiting trial.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, pleaded not guilty to all charges against him when he made his first appearance in court on July 10 in Boston. Those charges include murder and use of a weapon of mass destruction. He could face the death penalty on 17 of the 30 charges against him.