The remaining suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings has recovered enough to walk and assured his parents in a telephone conversation that he and his slain brother were innocent, their mother told reporters on Thursday.
Meanwhile, the father of a Chechen immigrant killed in Florida while being interrogated by the FBI about his ties to the slain brother maintained that US agents killed his son “execution-style.”
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, walked without a wheelchair to speak to his mother last week for the first and only telephone conversation they have had since he has been in custody, Zubeidat Tsarnaeva told reporters. In a rare glimpse at Tsarnaev’s state of mind, he told her he was getting better and that he had a very good doctor, but was struggling to understand what happened, she said.
“He didn’t hold back his emotions either, as if he were screaming to the whole world: ‘What is this? What’s happening?’” she said.
The April 15 bombings killed three people and wounded more than 260. The elder brother, 26-year-old Tamerlan Tsarnaev, was killed in a shootout with police, and Dzhokhar remains in a prison hospital after being badly wounded.
Separately, at a news conference in Moscow, the father of a 27-year-old mixed martial arts fighter who was killed during FBI questioning accused agents of being “bandits” who executed his son.
Abdul-Baki Todashev showed journalists 16 photographs that he said were of his son, Ibragim, in a Florida morgue. He said his son had six gunshot wounds to his torso and one to the back of his head, adding that the pictures were taken by his son’s friend Khusen Taramov.
It was not immediately possible to authenticate the photographs.
The FBI says Ibragim Todashev was being questioned by an FBI agent and two Massachusetts State Troopers about his ties to Tamerlan Tsarnaev, as well as about a 2011 triple slaying in Massachusetts.
Three law enforcement officials said initially that Ibragim Todashev had lunged at the FBI agent with a knife, although two of them later said it was no longer clear what had happened.
The father said his son was “100 percent unarmed.”
Taramov confirmed on Thursday that he had taken some pictures of Ibragim Todashev’s body at an Orlando funeral home and sent them to Todashev’s father.
Abdul-Baki Todashev said Taramov told him that US agents interrogated him on the street while five officials interrogated Ibragim Todashev in his Florida house for eight hours on Wednesday last week, the night he was shot.
Ibragim Todashev’s father said that his son moved to the US in 2008 on a study exchange program and met Tamerlan Tsarnaev at a boxing gym in Boston in 2011, about a year before he moved to Orlando. He said the two were “not particularly close friends.”
Ibragim Todashev had recently received a green card and was planning to return to Chechnya for the summer on Friday last week, two days after he was killed, his father said.
FBI agents interrogated the younger Todashev twice before the night he was shot, his father said. He said his son told him that he thought Tsarnaev had been set up to take the blame for the bombings.
“I’d only seen and heard things like that in the movies — they shoot somebody and then a shot in the head to make sure,” Abdul-Baki Todashev said.
“These just aren’t FBI agents, they’re bandits,” he added.