World

05.24.13

Ibragim Todashev’s Father: My Son Was Innocent

After the F.B.I. shot and killed Ibragim Todashev while questioning him regarding a triple homicide, Anna Nemtsova spoke with Todashev’s heartbroken father in Chechnya.

The pain for those connected with America’s Chechen community just keeps growing. In the latest development, F.B.I. agents shot Ibragim Todashev, a 27-year-old Chechen green-card holder during questioning in his apartment in Orlando, Florida. F.B.I. investigators said that during the questioning Todashev confessed that, together with Tamerlan Tsarnaev, he murdered three people in 2011. Investigators said that Todashev tried to attack them with a knife and they shot him before he had time to sign his confession.

Back in Chechnya, Todashev’s father, Abdul-Baki Todashev, is heartbroken. He cannot understand how F.B.I. agents couldn’t handle one man without shooting him. He is furious with the F.B.I. for killing his “innocent” son in cold blood. “My son could never commit a crime, I know my son too well. He worked helping disabled people in America and did sports, coached other sportsmen. The F.B.I. made up their accusations,” Todashev said in a phone interview from Chechnya. The father learned about the death of the oldest of his 11 children from the Internet.  “My son’s friend Husein was with Ibragim during the first few hours of questioning. But then the F.B.I. asked him to leave,” the father said. “My son was in full cooperation with the F.B.I. but they just murdered him after an almost 8-hour-long questioning.”

“Before this trouble I thought America was a free democratic country, where unlike in Russia, laws worked.”

Abdul-Baki Todashev claimed that his son had never been friends with Tsarnaev, but that they met about a year ago in Boston, where they both went to the same gym, to boxing classes.  Todashev’s parents had big plans for this summer. Last time they spoke on the phone, Ibrahim said he had a ticket to Moscow for May 24, and planned to spend the summer with his family in Chechnya. “He also mentioned that F.B.I. had questioned him about Tsarnaevs; I told him he should not be worried, if one of his acquaintances turns out to be a criminal, it does not mean that he is a criminal,” the father said. His son was planning to visit his home earlier, but officials did not let him leave the US. “For some reason the F.B.I. really wanted to present my son as Tsarnaev’s friend, but that was not true,” Todashev said.

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Ibragim Todashev poses for his mug shot after being arrested for aggravated battery May 4, 2013 in Orlando, Florida. (Orange County Sheriff's Office via Getty Images)

It seemed important for the father to stress that his son was clueless about the terror attack being planned in Boston; that Ibrahim would not have been physically able to get to the Boston marathon site, as during the week of the tragedy Ibragim was recovering from a knee surgery at his house in Orlando.

“Before this trouble I thought America was a free democratic country, where unlike in Russia, laws worked,” Todashev said. “I was deeply mistaken—now I think Russia is a golden place compared to the United States. My attitude for America flipped 180 degrees in one minute.”