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Boston suspect’s friend gets bail pending trial

A teenager friend of the lone surviving Boston bombings suspect has been released on a USD 100,000 bail, pending a trial for allegedly lying to investigators probing one of the worst terrorist attack in the US post 9/11.

Robel Phillipos, 19, friend of Chechen-origin Boston bombings suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, left the federal courthouse in a sedan after a judge set bail at USD 100,000 on Monday.

He will stay at his mother’s home, where he was living before his arrest last week, and be monitored electronically, according to terms his lawyers and prosecutors agreed to before the hearing, CNN reported.

‘I’m certainly happy for his mother and his family,’ family friend Michelle Borden told reporters outside the courthouse. ‘Now he has the comfort and the guidance he needs.’
The courtroom was filled with friends and relatives at yesterday’s hearing, during which Phillipos appeared in jail coveralls and handcuffs.

Phillipos faces up to eight years in prison and a USD 250,000 fine if convicted.

‘Now we look forward to defending him in the coming months,’ defense lawyer Derege Demissie said.

‘We are confident in the end he will be able to clear his name,’ he said.

19-year-old Dzhokhar and his older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, allegedly set off the two bombs near the Boston Marathon’s finish line killing three people and injuring over 250 others.

Tamerlan was killed in a shootout with police, days after the attack.

The FBI said that on 18 April, the three friends - Phillipos, Azamat Tazhayakov and Dias Kadyrbayev - went to Dzhokhar’s dorm room at the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth.

According to court documents, Tazhayakov and Kadyrbayev removed items from the room, including a laptop and a backpack loaded with fireworks, while Phillipos made false statements to bombing investigators.

Phillipos is a US citizen and a Boston native. Kadyrbayev and Tazhayakov are from Kazakhstan and had visas to study in the United States. ‘At no time did Robel have any prior knowledge of this marathon bombing, nor did he participate in the planning.’
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