MOSCOW (Reuters) - The father of a Chechen immigrant shot dead during FBI questioning over his links with the Boston bombing suspects said on Thursday that the U.S. agents responsible should face trial.
The FBI has said that Ibragim Todashev, 27, was being interrogated at his apartment in Florida on May 22 when he suddenly attacked an agent and was shot and killed.
Abdulbaki Todashev questioned that account at a news conference in Moscow, saying his son was unarmed when he was shot seven times.
“I want justice and I want there to be an investigation, so that these people are tried under American law,” said Todashev. “These are not FBI agents but bandits - I cannot call them anything else and they must be tried.”
Todashev showed reporters photographs of his son’s shirtless corpse on a medical table with several stitched-up wounds on his torso and arm and one on his head. He said his son had been shot after eight hours of questioning.
He dismissed U.S. media reports following his son’s death suggesting his son may have grabbed a kitchen knife or tried to wrest a gun from an agent as “absurd”, saying there was no reason a handful trained officers could not subdue a lone young man without killing him.
“They were tormenting him for eight hours. There was no lawyer, no witnesses, nobody,” he said. “We can only guess what was going on there.”
U.S. media reports on Thursday citing law enforcement officials said Todashev was unarmed.
Reuters was not able to independently confirm the accounts.
A Muslim civil liberties group in Florida, the Tampa-based branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, has also called for a review of the shooting. A special FBI team began reviewing the case last week.
Todashev said his son, a mixed martial arts fighter, knew the late Boston bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev because they had gone to the same gym in Massachusetts before his son moved to Orlando, Florida, but that they were “not close friends”.
Tsarnaev and his brother Dzhokhar, 19, are suspected of planting bombs that exploded near the finish line of the Boston Marathon on April 15, killing three people and wounding 264.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who was 26, died in an April 19 shootout with police in Massachusetts. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is being held at a Massachusetts prison hospital awaiting trial on charges that can carry the death penalty.
Todashev, who had been in the United States since 2008, was under investigation for alleged ties to a triple homicide in Massachusetts in 2011, according to media reports. Investigators believe Tamerlan Tsarnaev may also have been involved.
Todashev said U.S. agents had asked his son about the triple killing but said his son could not have killed anyone.
“I have 12 children including Ibragim: raising children has been my whole life,” he said. “I know my son so well ... my son could not have done this.”
Todashev said he has applied for a U.S. visa to travel to the United States to collect the body of his son - his oldest child - and bring him home for burial.
He said his son had been planning to visit and had bought a plane ticket for May 24, two days after he was shot. He had received a U.S. green card earlier this year.
The Boston bombings came at a tense time in U.S.-Russia relations, with Moscow accusing Washington of double standards on human rights and counterterrorism.
U.S. congressmen are in Moscow this week in an effort to find out whether the FBI could have done more with Russian intelligence on the bombing suspects to prevent the attack.
Editing by Alison Williams