Kyrgyz Citizen Charged With Obstructing Justice in Boston Marathon Bombings
Federal Prosecutors unsealed an indictment on May 30 charging Khairullozhon Matanov, a 23-year-old citizen of Kyrgyzstan, with four counts of obstructing justice in connection with the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings.
The indictment asserts Matanov was a close acquaintance of the accused Boston Marathon bombers, Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, and that he had repeated contact with the duo in the days following the April 15, 2013, tragedy. In particular, it outlines that Matanov had dinner with the Tsarnaev brothers just hours after two home-made bombs detonated near the marathon finish line. In addition, “in the hours and days following the bombings, Matanov contacted and attempted to contact Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev by cellphone and saw Tamerlan in person at least twice.”
Matanov is specifically charged with destroying potential evidence and making false statements that impeded the criminal investigation into the Tsarnaevs’ alleged actions. Authorities identified the Tsarnaevs as prime suspects on April 18, 2013.
The indictment notes that Matanov spoke with federal investigators several times on April 20, 2013. “Although Matanov soon dropped the pretense that he and Tamerlan Tsarnaev had not seen each other much, he continued to falsify, conceal and cover up evidence of the extent of his friendship, contact and communication with the Tsarnaevs during the week of the bombings, especially during the hours following the bombings,” the indictment states.
“One subject about which Matanov misinformed federal investigators concerned his interactions with the Tsarnaevs on April 15, 2013, the afternoon and evening of the bombings," it adds. Tamerlan Tsarnaev died during a shootout with law-enforcement officers in the early hours of April 19, 2013. Dzhokhar was taken into custody late the same day; his trial is scheduled to begin November 3 in US District Court in Boston.
According to the indictment, Matanov legally arrived in the United States in 2010 and “has lived in Massachusetts since then and has worked, among other jobs, as a taxicab driver.” After settling in the Boston area Matanov befriended Tamerlan Tsarnaev, and through him, his younger brother Dzhokhar.
Before arriving in the United States, the Tsarnaev brothers spent a considerable stretch of time living in Tokmok, Kyrgyzstan, a town roughly 60 kilometers east of the capital Bishkek.
“Matanov participated in a variety of activities with Tamerlan Tsarnaev, including discussing religious topics and hiking up a New Hampshire mountain in order to train like, and praise, the ‘mujahideen [Islamic holy warriors],’” the indictment states.
The marathon bombings and the ensuing police manhunt left three dead and hundreds injured.
Justin Burke is Eurasianet's publisher.