US & Canada

Boston Marathon bombing: Tsarnaev friend found guilty

In this courtroom sketch, Azamat Tazhayakov (centre) appeared in a Boston, Massachusetts, courtroom on 21 July 2014
Azamat Tazhayakov (centre) was convicted in a Boston, Massachusetts, court

A friend of one of the men suspected of carrying out the Boston Marathon bombing has been convicted of hindering the investigation into the attack.

Azamat Tazhayakov discarded Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's laptop and backpack in the days after the 15 April 2013 attack.

Tazhayakov, a Kazakh national who faces up to 20 years in prison, said another man threw out the potential evidence.

Three people died and more than 260 were injured in the blasts.

Death penalty

Lawyers for Tazhayakov argued another friend of Mr Tsarnaev's, Dias Kadyrbayev, was responsible for removing the items from a dorm room at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth, where Tazhayakov and Mr Tsarnaev were students.

Prosecutors, meanwhile, argued both men, who hail from Kazakhstan, were responsible for the decision to destroy the items, including altered fireworks, to protect Mr Tsarnaev.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev seen on 19 April 2013
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev faces 30 criminal charges

The backpack and fireworks - emptied of their explosive powder - were later found in a Massachusetts landfill.

Mr Kadyrbayev faces a trial in September, while a third friend, US citizen Robel Phillipos, has been charged with lying to investigators in connection with the matter.

Mr Tsarnaev - who faces the death penalty if convicted - will stand trial in November.

He has pleaded not guilty to 30 charges, of which 17 carry the possibility of capital punishment.

Prosecutors allege Mr Tsarnaev set off two pressure cooker bombs with his older brother Tamerlan, who later died in a police shoot-out.

Mr Tsarnaev will be charged under the federal death penalty law; Massachusetts abolished the use of capital punishment in 1984.