“The sword wouldn’t cut nothing,” Tamarov said. “I played with it many times. It wasn’t sharp from any angle. It would do the same harm as a piece of wood.”
A spokesman for the Boston FBI declined to comment Thursday on the claim that Todashev was unarmed.
The father said Taramov told him that U.S. agents interrogated him on the street while five officials interrogated Todashev in his Florida house for eight hours on May 22, the night he was shot.
Todashev’s father said that his son moved to the U.S. in 2008 on a study exchange program and met 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.”
Prior to last month’s bombings, Todashev underwent an operation for a sports injury and was on crutches, making it physically impossible for him to have been involved in the bombings, his father said. He added that Todashev had recently received a green card and was planning to return to Chechnya for the summer last Friday, two days after he was killed.
The father said he and his brother were interviewed at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow on Thursday as they sought a visa to take his son’s body back to Chechnya.
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,” Todashev said.
“These just aren’t FBI agents, they’re bandits,” he added.
The Tsarnaevs’ parents have held fast to their belief that their sons were framed. Zubeidat Tsarnaeva, dressed all in black and still visibly distressed, showed AP several YouTube videos on an iPad she claimed cleared her sons. They could not be authenticated by the AP.
“I remember when our cat was sick, Tamerlan was sick himself for two days afterward, because he was so worried about her,” Tsarnaeva said.
She said Tamerlan told her about Todashev, and that she and her husband had invited him to visit them in Russia, though he never came. Tamerlan later told them that he and Todashev were unlikely to continue training together since they practiced different sports, and he appeared to have lost track of him after Todashev moved to Florida, Tsarnaeva added.
Seddon reported from Moscow. Associated Press writer Denise Lavoie in Boston and Kyle Hightower in Orlando contributed to the story.
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