The government of Kazakhstan, which has been making big strides as the most westernized of the former Soviet ‘Stans, stressed today that two of its citizens weren’t charged with committing terrorism but just helping one.
The country is about half Muslim, but is officially secular and most of its Muslims practice mystic Sufi Islam that tolerates other religious beliefs.
Dias Kadyrbayev and Azamat Tazhayakov, friends of Boston bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, appeared in court yesterday. Both were in the U.S. on student visas and are accused of obstructing the investigation by destroying evidence.
“We would like to emphasize that our citizens did not receive charges of involvement in the organization of Boston marathon bombings. They were charged with destroying evidence,” Kazakhstan’s foreign ministry said today.
“At present, our citizens receive the necessary consular assistance. Their guilt has not been proven and the investigation is ongoing. Both Kadyrbayev and Tazhayakov cooperate with the investigative bodies and provide them assistance,” the ministry continued.
“As we have repeatedly stressed, Kazakhstan strongly condemns any form of terrorism. The Kazakhstan side is cooperating with the U.S. law enforcement bodies in their investigation.”
Kazakhstan used the less-than-flattering publicity from Borat to boost its tourism industry and is still reaping the benefits. Draws include the mountain resort of Burabai, the Grand Canyon rival Charyn Canyon, and the Soviet-era Baikonur Cosmodrome where the country plans on selling rides into space.