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Tsarnaev pal testifies he suspected alleged Boston bomber's role

A Kazakh exchange student claims he told federal agents he suspected his friend Dzhokhar Tsarnaev had a role in the deadly attack.

Boston marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev (R) poses with Azamat Tazhayakov (L) and Dias Kadyrbayev in an undated photo taken in New York. Credit:  vk.com/Reuters Boston marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev (R) poses with Azamat Tazhayakov (L) and Dias Kadyrbayev in an undated photo taken in New York. Credit: vk.com/Reuters

A Kazakh exchange student awaiting trial on charges of obstructing the investigation into the Boston Marathon bombing testified on Tuesday that he told federal agents he suspected his friend had a role in the deadly attack.

The exchange student, Dias Kadyrbayev, took the stand for a second day in a pretrial hearing at which his attorneys are trying to persuade a judge to throw out early statements to law enforcement because he did not understand his rights.

Three people were killed and 264 injured in the April 15, 2013, blasts at the marathon.

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The day after suspected bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev had been captured, Kadyrbayev and a roommate were arrested on immigration charges and Kadyrbayev was presented with a copy of a statement he had made to FBI agents the day before during hours of interrogation, but objected to the report saying that he knew, rather than suspected, Tsarnaev's role.

"You said you didn't know for sure he was the bomber, that you suspected he was the bomber, correct?" Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephanie Siegmann asked Kadyrbayev, 20, during cross examination at U.S. District Court in Boston.

"Yes," Kadyrbayev replied.

Kadyrbayev is one of three college friends of Tsarnaev charged with hampering the investigation by going to the suspect's dormitory room at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth three days after the attack and removing a laptop and backpack containing empty fireworks shells.

Siegmann on Tuesday showed a form in which Kadyrbayev admitted to taking those items from Tsarnaev's dorm room. Kadyrbayev did not dispute the form's' authenticity other than to note he had objected to an earlier version which said he had known of Tsarnaev's role.

Kadyrbayev and fellow Kazakh exchange student Azamat Tazhayakov are both charged with obstruction of justice and could face up to 25 years in prison if convicted. A third friend, Robel Phillipos of Cambridge, Massachusetts, faces up to 16 years if convicted of the less serious charge of lying to investigators.

Kadyrbayev's attorneys are trying to persuade U.S. District Judge Douglas Woodlock to throw out the statement, arguing that it was not made voluntarily and that Kadyrbayev, a native Russian speaker, was not sufficiently fluent in English to understand his rights.

Tsarnaev, who also is accused of killing a university police officer in a shootout three days after the bombings, is awaiting trial in a prison west of Boston. He faces the possibility of execution if convicted.

Follow Metro Boston on Twitter: @MetroBOS

 
 
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