Dressed in orange prison jumpsuits, Dias Kadyrbayev and Azamat Tazhayakov, both from Kazakhstan, looked nothing like photos of them that have circulated during the past few months. In those images, they appeared, alongside Tsarnaev, enjoying everything from a trip to Times Square in New York City to a homemade meal at one of their homes.
The US District Court hearing lasted only a few minutes, with each defendant, both of them from Kazakhstan, saying “not guilty” to the charges before they were taken away by US marshals.
The fathers of both defendants were present in court. The sons waved and smiled to them.
Amir Ismagulov, Tazhayakov’s father, said after the hearing that his son was innocent. “He’s shocked Tsarnaev did this,” he said.
Kadyrbayev’s attorney, Robert G. Stahl, said in a statement that his client was a “law-abiding college student whose only crime was befriending a fellow student who spoke his more comfortable native language.”
Stahl also said that even though Kadyrbayev came from “a former Soviet-bloc region where police are routinely distrusted,” he had “fully cooperated” with authorities and answered the FBI’s questions for nearly 12 hours over two days without a lawyer or a Kazakh consular official present.
The pair, who were arraigned before US Magistrate Judge Marianne Bowler, face charges of conspiracy to obstruct justice and obstruction of justice. They could get five to 25 years in prison and are currently being held at the Essex County jail in Middleton.