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Relative Testifies From Kazakhstan in Defense of Boston Marathon Bomber

© REUTERS / Jane Flavell CollinsA courtroom sketch shows Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev (C) during the jury selection process in his trial at the federal courthouse in Boston, Massachusetts January 15, 2015
A courtroom sketch shows Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev (C) during the jury selection process in his trial at the federal courthouse in Boston, Massachusetts January 15, 2015 - Sputnik International
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The former brother-in-law of Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev gave testimony from Kazakhstan.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The former brother-in-law of Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev gave testimony from Kazakhstan in Dzhokhar’s defense via web video, according to media reports.

“A former brother-in-law of Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev testified Wednesday from Kazakhstan about the role of a conservative Muslim convert who steered Tsarnaev’s older brother [Tamerlan Tsarnaev] towards a stricter version of Islam,” WHDH Channel 7 Boston reported on Wednesday.

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Elmirza Khozhugov, the former husband of Dzhokhar’s sister Ailina, told the court that the convert was named Misha and was a frequent visitor to Tsarnaev’s apartment in Cambridge, Massachusetts where Tamerlan and Misha would discuss Islam, local media said.

“I wouldn’t call it formally a lesson, but he was teaching him and suggesting books to read… expressing his own views about that faith to Tamerlan,” Khozhugov was quoted as saying by local media.

Khozhugov explained that the discussions were so intense, that one night Dzhokhar’s father came home from work and was stopped from going to take a shower to avoid walking through the kitchen where Tamerlan and Misha were talking.

Khozhugov also said Tamerlan ended up quitting boxing, acting classes and playing and listening to music because Misha said those things were not appropriate for Islam, according to local media.

Khozhugov concluded that Dzhokhar looked up to his brother Tamerlan, and would go along any time Tamerlan wanted to do something, local media said.

On April 15, 2013, three people were killed and more than 250 injured after Dzhokar and Tamerlan planted two bombs near the finish line of the Boston Marathon. Tamerlan was killed in a shootout with police days after the bombing.

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