Boston bomber friend Dias Kadyrbayev jailed six years for obstructing justice

NEW YORK (AFP) - A college friend of convicted Boston bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was sentenced to six years in prison Tuesday for obstructing justice in hindering the FBI hunt for the perpetrators of the 2013 attacks.

Dias Kadyrbayev, 21, from Kazakhstan, was one of three friends who went to Tsarnaev's dorm room at the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth after the FBI released images of him as a suspect.

The April 15, 2013 bombings at the Boston Marathon were among the deadliest in the United States since the September 11 Al-Qaeda attacks in New York, and sowed terror throughout the city.

Kadyrbayev and another friend took a backpack, tossed it in the trash outside the apartment and kept a laptop in what prosecutors said was an attempt to protect Tsarnaev while he was on the run.

Tsarnaev had texted the pair after fleeing, saying "if you want to go to my room and take what's there." The backpack contained fireworks allegedly used in bomb-making, a jar of petroleum jelly and a thumb drive.

It was recovered by the FBI a week later after prosecutors said 30 agents spent two days searching a landfill site.

Kadyrbayev's lawyer had requested time served - 26 months - but said his client fully accepts responsibility and the sentence imposed.

Kadyrbayev was just 19 years old at the time.

"He had a terrible, momentary lapse in judgment for which he has paid a severe price. His loving family and friends hope to have him back home as soon as possible," lawyer Robert Stahl said.

He said his client was not a terrorist.

"Dias had no knowledge of the Tsarnaevs' plans or actions," he said.

A jury last month sentenced Tsarnaev to death for the Marathon bombings. His elder brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev whom the defence argued was the mastermind, was shot dead by police on the run.