Father of man shot in marathon investigation seeks answers

Aug. 6, 2013 at 3:25 PM
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ORLANDO, Fla., Aug. 6 (UPI) -- The father of a Chechen man shot by the FBI during the Boston Marathon bombing investigation has traveled to Florida hoping for answers, officials said.

Abdulbaki Todashev, father of 27-year-old Ibragim Todashev, who was shot to death in an Orlando condo by an FBI agent during an interview about his relationship with suspected Boston Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev, said he's been given almost no information about the circumstances leading to his son's death.

The Orlando Sentinel reported Tuesday Todashev has traveled from Chechnya and has been in contact with two U.S. groups, the Council on American Islamic Relations and the American Civil Liberties Union, to assist in his quest. Both groups said the FBI has refused to release even basic information about the case, including Todashev's autopsy report.

Todashev was officially being questioned May 22 about a triple homicide that took place in Waltham, Mass., in 2011 but the FBI and other law enforcement agencies were alerted to some ties between Todashev and Tsarnaev.

Tsarnaev, 26, died during a shootout with authorities following the Boston terror attack and his brother, Dzhokhar, 19, is in custody.

FBI officials said at the time Todashev initiated a "violent confrontation" with agents and was shot to death. An FBI agent reportedly suffered non-life threatening injuries.

It is unclear what, if any weapon Todashev possessed during the altercation.

Hassan Shibly, executive director of the Florida CAIR chapter, said Todashev, in consultation with the ACLU, is considering taking legal action against the FBI.

"We're exploring those options right now," Shibly said.

Shibly and Howard Simon, ACLU Florida director, said initial inquiries they've made have turned up some "troubling" evidence. They said Todashev's friends had also been questioned in the days before the shooting and federal agents threatened to have their immigration status altered to potentially have them deported if they refused to spy on members of their mosques.

The ACLU appealed to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to conduct an investigation into Todashev's killing but the agency declined, saying they had no jurisdiction over a federal investigation.

"State agencies have declined to fulfill their responsibility to the public to explain what led to a shooting death at the hands of law enforcement in our state," Simon said. "This leaves the FBI investigating itself with no independent oversight or separate investigation. Because of the inconsistent details in the very limited information the FBI has provided the public, Igrahim Todashev's father has traveled to Florida to try to get answers about his son's death.

"Both the secrecy that has surrounded what happened and doubts about the credibility of an FBI internal investigation have fostered suspicion about the death of Igrahim Todashev. The people of Florida -- and Igrahim Todashev's family -- deserve answers."

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