The man known as Misha who relatives of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects have alleged may have turned the elder Tsarnaev brother toward a radical form of Islam says he did no such thing and would have tried to stop the attack if he had known about it.
"I wasn't his teacher," Mikhail Allakhverdov (Misha) said Sunday of Tamerlan Tsarnaev. "If I had been his teacher, I would have made sure he never did anything like this."
Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, died April 19 of injuries received during a gun battle with police in Watertown, Mass. His 19-year-old brother, Dzhokhar, the other suspect, was captured later that day in Watertown. He is being held at a prison medical facility outside Boston. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has been charged with using a weapon of mass destruction.
Three people were killed and more than 250 were wounded April 15 by two blasts near the marathon's finish line. The brothers also allegedly killed a MIT police officer later that week.
It was writer Christian Caryl who tracked down Allakhverdov. Caryl writes about their conversation in The New York Review of Books' NYR blog. According to Caryl:
-- "Having been referred by a family in Boston that was close to the Tsarnaevs, I found Allakverdov at his home in Rhode Island, in a lower middle class neighborhood, where he lives in modest, tidy apartment with his elderly parents."
-- "Allakhverdov said he had known Tamerlan in Boston, where he lived until about three years ago, and has not had any contact with him since."
-- Allakhverdov said he has "been cooperating entirely with the FBI. I gave them my computer and my phone and everything I wanted to show I haven't done anything. And they said they are about to return them to me. And the agents who talked told me they are about to close my case."
In other news about the marathon bombing and the investigation into the blasts:
-- Dzhokhar Tsarnaev "is able to speak and has been interacting with staff at the Federal Medical Center Devens," CNN reports. It cited a spokesman for the facility, John Colautti.
-- The suspects' mother, Zubeidat Tsarnaev, continues to argue that "her sons are innocent and that she's no terrorist," The Associated Press says.
-- Over the weekend, The Washington Post published a long profile of the Tsarnaev family: "A Faded Portrait of An Immigrant's American Dream."