Source: Reuters – Wed, 7 Aug 2013 08:53 PM
By Barbara Liston
ORLANDO, Fla., Aug 7 (Reuters) – The father of an unarmed Orlando Muslim shot to death in May by an FBI agent during questioning related to the Boston Marathon bombings has arrived in Florida from Russia for meetings with lawyers trying to pry details of the killing from U.S. and local officials.
Abdulbaki Todashev has retained lawyers who expect to settle on a legal strategy within a few weeks, said Hassan Shibly, executive director of the Florida Council on American Islamic Relations.
Todashev’s son, Ibragim Todashev, 27, was killed in his Orlando apartment during what turned out to be the last of several voluntary interviews with agents from the FBI and other law enforcement agencies investigating the Boston bombings.
Abdulbaki Todashev, who is from Russia’s mostly Muslim republic of Chechnya, has said he suspects U.S. officials of torturing and murdering his son. “He is very hurt. He trusted his son in this country to have a bright future that he otherwise wouldn’t in his homeland,” Shibly said.
A special FBI team is reviewing the fatal shooting of Ibragim Todashev, who was a friend of suspected Boston Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev and was under investigation for ties to a triple homicide in Massachusetts in 2011 that law enforcement officials say was drug related.
Officials from the FBI and the Department of Justice will examine the evidence in Todashev’s death to determine “the reasonableness of the application of deadly force,” the FBI said in a statement.
Todashev appeared on the FBI’s radar soon after Tamerlan Tsarnaev and his brother, Dzhokhar, both Chechen immigrants, were identified as the Boston bombing suspects, and cellphone records connected the men.
Shibly said the FBI also was questioning Todashev about his and Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s possible involvement in the unsolved 2011 triple homicide. Todashev’s wife contends receipts for purchases place Todashev far from murder scene.
FCAIR hired a veteran homicide investigator to conduct an independent review of Todashev’s killing. The investigator concluded that Todashev, a Chechen immigrant who was in the country legally, was shot seven times and received a major wound, possibly from a bullet, to the back of the head.
He also found blood splatter and other physical damage at the scene that suggested Todashev was shot while he was lying on the ground, Shibly said.
The FBI blocked the release of an autopsy report, which could help confirm the details of the shooting, he said.
Shibly said FCAIR’s investigation uncovered disturbing information about FBI tactics used during interviews with Todashev’s friends in the days leading up to his death.
Shibly said FBI agents “illegally threatened to throw them in jail and take away their green cards if they did not become informants and spy on several members of their faith, their mosques, their restaurants and so on.” (Editing by David Adams and Steve Orlofsky)