WASHINGTON, July 17 (RIA Novosti) – The US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has barred officials in Florida from releasing their report detailing the cause of death of a 27-year-old Chechen man, Ibragim Todashev, who was shot and killed in his apartment in May by an FBI agent, the medical examiner’s office that conducted the autopsy said in a letter sent to RIA Novosti on Wednesday.
“Although the autopsy report on Ibragim Todashev was finalized on July 8th, and ready for release, the FBI has informed this office that the case is still under active investigation and thus not to release the document,” Tony Miranda, the forensic records coordinator for the medical examiner’s office in Orlando, said in the letter.
Information relating to an active criminal investigation is exempt from a Florida law that requires officials to release public records to “any person” who wants to see them.
The Orlando medical examiner’s office “will continue to contact the FBI each month for an update on when this exemption is no longer in effect,” Miranda said in the letter.
Todashev, a friend of slain Boston Marathon bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev, was shot and killed May 22 while being questioned by FBI agents and Massachusetts State Police about his possible involvement in an unsolved triple murder in 2011 in the Boston area. Tsarnaev was also alleged to be involved in the murders.
US media reports, including one in The New York Times, cited unnamed law enforcement officials as saying Todashev had admitted during the questioning to carrying out the triple murders with Tsarnaev, but then went “off the deep end” and attacked the investigators with “a knife or a pipe or something,” and was killed before signing a confession.
Other reports, including one in The Washington Post, said Todashev was unarmed when he was killed.
A week after his death, Todashev’s father displayed for reporters in Moscow photos that he said showed his son had been shot several times in the body and once, at point-blank range, in the head.
The FBI and the Department of Justice are conducting an internal inquiry into Todashev’s death, but the slain man’s family and US advocacy groups have called for independent probes.
Todashev, an ethnic Chechen, came to the United States in 2008 to study English in the Boston area, where he met the Tsarnaev family, also Chechens. He was granted asylum in the United States that same year and eventually moved to Florida.