US Team to Question Boston Suspects’ Parents in Dagestan

(RIA Novosti) – The US Embassy in Moscow has sent a team to Russia’s southern republic of Dagestan to speak to the parents of the two suspects in the Boston Marathon bombings, an embassy spokesman said on Wednesday.

“A team from the US embassy in Moscow headed to Dagestan yesterday to speak to the parents of the two suspects,” the spokesman said, adding the trip was the result of cooperation with Russia over the investigation.

The spokesman confirmed the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is receiving Russian government assistance in investigating the Boston bombings.

The Russian father of the two suspects, Anzor Tsarnaev, a resident of the volatile republic of Dagestan, told RIA Novosti he has had a phone conversation with US diplomats.

“Yes, the US representatives have contacted with me by phone but we have not met yet,” Anzor Tsarnaev said, without giving details of the planned meeting with the US team.

He said earlier he had grave doubts about his son’s ability to give testimony. “He [Dzhokhar Tsarnaev] is giving no testimony. He is even unable to speak,” Anzor said.

The Tsarnaev brothers are accused of planting the homemade bombs which exploded at the finish line of the Boston Marathon on April 15, killing three people and injuring around 200.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, was killed during a shootout with police in the Boston suburb of Watertown on Friday. Dzhokhar was apprehended hours later, after eluding a massive manhunt which saw the city of Boston and many of its suburbs locked down.

US media reports said Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has told investigators in writing that he and his brother acted alone in carrying out the attack and that they were motivated by religion.

Earlier this week, the Izvestia newspaper reported that Tamerlan Tsarnaev had participated in the seminars run by Georgia’s Fund of Caucasus organization during his stay in Russia between January and July 2012. The organization cooperates with Jamestown, a US NGO, which carries out analysis of the Eurasia region and focuses on the Caucasus as one of its core areas of activity.

Georgia’s Interior Ministry declined to confirm the report. “We have neither heard nor learned anything about this,” an Interior Ministry spokesman said. The Fund of Caucasus has not yet commented on the report.