Abdulbaki Todashev, who applied Thursday for a U.S. visa so that he can pick up his son’s body in Orlando, where he died, said that he has heard nothing from U.S. officials about the May 22 shooting.
“I want justice. I want an investigation,” he said at a Moscow news conference. “They come to your house like bandits, and they shoot you.”
Despite earlier accounts of the incident that suggested Todashev had a weapon, two law enforcement officials told The Washington Post on Wednesday that he was not armed. His father said that he was shot seven times. The FBI has said that he attacked an agent, just moments after confessing to his part in the Waltham slayings.
On Thursday, the medical examiner’s office in Orange County, Fla., referred all calls to the FBI. The bureau has said that an FBI review team is investigating the matter and may not conclude its probe for several months.
The elder Todashev displayed photographs of his son’s body ~ apparently the same pictures as those shown by participants in a Florida news conference Wednesday evening ~ that he said show six shots to the body and a “control” shot to the back of the head.
“This is proof of cold-blooded murder,”said Maxim Shevchenko, a journalist and member of the presidential human rights council who organized Thursday’s news conference.
It was an “extrajudicial execution,” said Zaurbek Sadakhanov, a Chechen lawyer who also was present. “Why was he interrogated three times without a lawyer? Why no recording? Why seven shots? And why should I believe their version? Why do American policemen believe they can do whatever they want?”Todashev’s father said his son had been planning to return to Chechnya on May 24, though he had apparently cancelled his tickets before he was killed on May 22. He suggested that the FBI didn’t want his son to return to Russia.
“Maybe my son knew some sort of information that the police didn’t want to get out,” he said. “They shut him up. That’s my opinion.”
The elder Todashev said he learned of his son’s death when Khusen Taramov, a friend and fellow Chechen, called him. Taramov had been at Todashev’s apartment the night of May 22. The FBI called and asked Ibragim Todashev to come by for more questioning, but he told bureau officials that they could find him at home, his father said Thursday.
When they arrived, they took Taramov aside and interrogated him outdoors for several hours, the father said, then told him to go. A few hours later, the younger Todashev was shot.
Abdulbaki Todashev is convinced that his son is innocent of the Waltham killings. “I raised him. I know what kind of person he is,” he said.
Shevchenko decried the “systematic persecution of Chechens” in the United States and accused the Russian Foreign Ministry of not doing more to stand up for Chechens who are abroad.
Sadakhanov, the lawyer, said he had some advice for Taramov: Leave the country.
“Nowadays, it’s not safe to be a witness in the United States,” he said.
Ibragim Todashev, who was killed by the FBI during a questioning, was shot six times, once in the crown of his head, photos shown at a press conference in Moscow reveal. His father suspects it could have been a kill shot.
“I can show you the photos taken after the killing of my son. I have 16 photographs. I just would like to say that looking at these photos is like being in a movie. I only saw things like that in movies: shooting a person, and then the kill shot. Six shots in the body, one of them in the head,” ~ Abdulbaki Todashev said at the press conference at RIA Novosti news agency in the Russian capital.He explained that the photos were taken by friends of his son in the US, to whom the FBI handed the body.
“I want justice and I want an investigation to be carried out, I want these people [the FBI agents] to be put on trial in accordance with US law. They are not FBI officers, they are bandits. I cannot call them otherwise, they must be put on trial,” ~ he said.
Ibragim had been questioned twice by the FBI in connection with the Boston bombings, but not about the murder in which he was allegedly suspected, his father said.
The 2011 triple murder in Massachusetts, in which the Boston bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev was also implicated, was reportedly the subject of the third and final FBI interrogation of Ibragim Todashev.
His friend Khusen Taramov told the father that Ibragim had refused to come in for questioning on May 22, and instead asked the FBI agents to come and question him at home.
“Should something happen to me, call my parents,” Taramov quoted the last thing he heard from his friend.On the day of Ibragim’s death, Taramov was questioned by the FBI separately on the street, and was refused entry back into his friend’s house, Todashev’s father claimed. He was “sent off” to wait in a nearby café on the grounds that Todashev was still being questioned and that “the interrogation would take a long time.”
After some eight hours passed since the start of interrogation and his Todashev’s phone still was not answering, Taramov returned, only to find the street cordoned off with police cars and an ambulance.
“They tortured a man for eight hours with no attorney, no witnesses, nobody. We can only guess what was going on there, until there is an official investigation,” ~ Abdulbaki Todashev said.
Also, Ibragim was never a close friend of Boston bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev ~ he and Tamerlan only “went boxing at the same gym” and “exchanged phone numbers,” the father said.
So far, Todashev has received “no official explanation” of his son’s death from the US side. He said he was only told there is an ongoing investigation “inside the FBI.”
Todashev called the earlier claims that Ibragim was shot attempting to attack an FBI agent “absurd,”saying four or five police and FBI officers could have easily handled such an attack without needing to kill his son.
“Maybe my son knew something, some information the police did not want to be made public. Maybe they wanted to silence my son,” ~ Todashev’s father said.Abdulbaki Todashev said his main aim now is to go to the US and get his son’s body.
“My brother and I, we went to the American embassy today. We both want to fly there, we’ve applied for a visa,” he explained.
It looks like a “cold-blooded murder,” he claimed.Ibragim Todashev was killed just two days before he was due to fly back home to Russia, Shevchenko said as he pointed to a “striking chain of coincidences” in the US.
Two “key witnesses” of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s arrest have also died recently, Shevchenko said, referring to the “accidental” death of members of the FBI’s elite counterterrorism unit, who fell a “significant distance” from a helicopter last Thursday.Lawyer Zaurbek Sadakhanov of the Moscow Interterritorial Bar Association said he fully believes this is a case of an extrajudicial execution.
Sadakhanov questioned why international human rights organizations, as well as Russian rights activists, have ignored the shooting.
He also urged Todashev’s friend Khusen Harlamov to return to Russia as “being a witness in the US is not safe.”
This is not the first time experts have questioned whether the FBI acted lawfully when shooting at Ibragim Todashev after he allegedly attacked an officer, with what some called “a use of excessive force.”
But a recent report revealed Todashev was completely unarmed when the FBI agent opened fire, raising questions over why lethal force was deemed necessary to subdue the strongly outnumbered man.
Investigative journalist and former Los Angeles police officer, Mike Ruppert offered his professional opinion to RT, finding two major issues with the official story (given that he himself had been in a similar predicament as an officer years before the incident). Firstly, the standard operating procedures were out the window; and secondly, the FBI itself appears to have set the situation up.
Ruppert went on, recounting a similar shooting from decades ago.“There’s an escalation-of-force scale which was obviously not followed in this case”, he said, referring to the officers’ decision to draw firearms. “But my second huge problem with the law enforcement story is he (Todashev) was supposed to be signing a confession to a triple murder…I don’t care even if you are the FBI ~ which doesn’t have a good reputation ~ you have somebody who’s about to sign a confession, you have him in a jail house, in a secure setting, and the police officers around him are not armed because he’s in a secure setting. For the FBI, this was, at best, horribly mishandled. But it sounds to me very much like they went there with the intent to provoke him and stage a shooting,”
“If we go back to [those] days, these are executions… dead men tell no tales… and I will speak as an American citizen. My country is behaving like a totalitarian state run amok.”