UPDATE: “Kadyrbayev’s VK “world view” is Islam, his “personal priority” is listed as “improving the world” and next to “Important in others” he has listed “kindness and honesty.” He has listed his views on smoking and alcohol as “very negative.”
3 suspects in total. Azamat Tazhayakov and Dias Kadyrbayev are Kazakh Muslims, but the third, Robel Phillipos, is of uncertain religion and may have been one of the non-Muslim classmates who are still supporting Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.
Azamat Tazhayakov and Dias Kadyrbayev are charged with conspiracy to obstruct justice. Those are the more serious charges. They’re also in on immigration violations, so if nothing else they may at least be kicked out of the country.
Robel is only charged with making false statements, probably because he came clean first. Robel may not be a Muslim, so unlike the two Kazakhs, he had less skin in the game and may have only been trying to help out a man he thought was his friend. Unlike them, Robel is also a US citizen.
The indictment describes the two Kazakh Muslims “freaking out” and speaking hurriedly in Russian, which Robel Phillipos did not understand.
Dias Kadyrbayev, Azamat Tazhayakova and Robel Phillipos, all described as friends of Tsarnaev at UMass-Dartmouth, allegedly wnt to Tsarnaev’s dorm and took a laptop, the backpack and some Vaseline that may have been used in making the deadly pressure cooker bombs that killed three and injured more than 200 at the race. An FBI affidavit filed in support of a complaint said Kadyrbayev was the one who carried out the disposal of the backpack, according to authorities.
“Kadyrbayev knew when he saw the empty fireworks that Tsarnaev was involved in the Marathon bombing,” the affidavit reads. “Kadyrbayev decided to remove the backpack from the room in order to help his friend Tsarnaev avoid trouble.”
The three acted on Thursday, after investigators aired surveillance footage identifying Tsarnaev and his older brother Tamerlan as the suspects in the bombing, though not by name, according to authorities. Phillipos first saw footage depicting Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on the news Thursday, and told Kadyrbayev over the phone that he suspected their friend was the bomber. When Kadyrbayev later texted Tsarnaev and said he bore a resemblance to the subject of an intense manhunt, Tsarnaev sent back a chilling response: “Lol,” he allegedly wrote. “You better not text me.”
Although the three new suspects initially appear to have stonewalled authorities, Phillipos came clean in a fourth interview, conducted April 26. He confessed that the three took the backpack out of their friend’s room, according to the affidavit.
The non-Muslim proved to be the weak link. Kazakhstan is moderate on paper, but as this case reminds us, those terms don’t have that much meaning once religious solidarity comes into play.