Khairullozhon Matanov: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know


Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. (Getty)

Khiairullozhon Matanov, 23, an associate of Boston Bombing suspects Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, was arrested Friday morning after a federal grand jury indicted him on obstruction of justice charges.

The grand jury claims Matanov, a Quincy, Massachusetts resident, destroyed or altered evidence and made false statements in connection with the investigation of the bombings. He was arraigned at 2 p.m. at the John Joseph Moakley U.S. Courthosue in Boston.

Matanov, who is being represented by a public defender, is being held without bail because the court believes he is a flight risk. His hearing is slated for Wednesday at 11.

Here’s what you need to know:

1. Authorities Say He Bought the Tsarnaev Brothers Dinner the Night of the Bombing

The indictment, which you can read above, claims Matanov called Tamerlan Tsarnaev about 40 minutes after the bombs went off at the Boston Marathon to invite them to dinner.

Authorities say the three dined together that night and talked about the bombings, but that Matanov initially lied to the FBI about the nature of the conversation, telling investigators he didn’t remember the Tsarnaevs’ responses when he brought up the bombings, when in fact Tamerlan had told Matanov he figured al Qaeda had carried out the attack because the group had not claimed responsibility for it within the first two hours.

The indictment does not say where the group dined.

Matanov also called Dzhokhar and Tamerlan two times each on their cell phones on Wednesday, April 17, the indictment claims. Of those four calls, he was only able to speak to Tamerlan for about one minute. That evening, he visited Tamerlan.

Matanov continued to call the Tsarnaev brothers the next day, even after CNN published the photographs of the suspected bombers, investigators say. He placed his last calls to them at 7:17 a.m. while the brothers were still “evading law enforcement.”

2. He Was Adamant After the Bombings That the Tsarnaevs Were Wrongly Accused

In the aftermath of the bombings, Matanov made no secret of his friendship with the Tsarnaevs and was adamant the brothers were being wrongly accused, the Boston Globe reported Friday.

The Globe quoted a man named Nour, who was Matanov’s boss at the Braintree Checker Club.

Nour told the Globe that he recalled Matanov saying that authorities were wrong and that the brothers might have been framed.

Around the same time that Matanov was proclaiming his friends’ innocence to his co-workers, the indictment alleges that he tried to get a friend of his, identified as “Witness 3,” to take some cell phones that he said were “illegal” out of his house.

At this time, he believed the FBI would search his home because of his friendship with Tamerlan.

After confessing his acquaintance to Tamerlan to one of his taxi passengers, the passenger, identified as “Witness 2,” convinced him to go the Braintree Police Department and tell that he knew the suspects.

The indictment claims Matanov told police he knew the Tsarnaevs through their place of worship and playing soccer. Later that day, he came home and started deleting things from his computer.

Here are the exact charges, from the indictment:

VIOLATIONS:18 U.S.C. § 1519 (Destroying, Altering, and Falsifying Records, Documents, and TangibleObjects in a Federal Investigation)18 U.S.C. § 1001(a)(2) (Making a MateriallyFalse, Fictitious, and Fraudulent Statementin a Federal Investigation Involving International and Domestic Terrorism)

Armed cops shocked neighbors in Matanov’s Quincy neighborhood Friday morning, when they entered his apartment and took him into custody. Neighbors told the Globe that law enforcement officers had been in the neighborhood several times prior to the arrest, including during this year’s Boston Marathon, which took place April 21.

Watch the video below from the Globe to hear accounts from two neighbors.

Here’s a picture of the Quincy apartment building where Matanov was taken into custody:

3. He’s a Citizen of Kyrgyzastan


Matanov is a citizen of Kyrgyzstan and has been living in Massachusetts since he entered the country legally in 2010. He had worked at the cab company in Braintree for about two years.

The U.S. established diplomatic relations with Kyrgyzstan in 1991 after the collapse of the Soviet Union. The State Department warns that despite the relative safety of the nation, terrorism is an “enduring threat” in southern Kyrgrzstan.

Below you can see a picture of his cab:

Matanov was an observant Muslim who for a time would not look at attractive women as they walked by, but had become “more open to the average 23-year-old’s behavior,” his boss told the Globe.

4. He and Tamerlan ‘Trained’ Together

FBI Boston Bombing Tamerlan Tsarnaev James Comey Bill Keating Boston Marathon Bombing

According to the indictment, Matanov and Tamerlan Tsarnaev became good friends and participated in activities like, “discussing religious topics and hiking up a New Hampshire mountain to order to train like, and praise, the ‘mujahideen.'”

5. While Talking About the Boston Bombing Victims, He Allegedly Said ‘Everyone Must Eventually Die’

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When Matanov returned from having dinner with the Tsarnaevs, a witness who will be testifying against Matanov, claimed he said that the “bombings could have had a just reason, such as being done in the name of Islam, that he would support the bombings if the reason were just or the attack had been done by the Talibanm and that the victims had gone to paradise.”

In the days after the attacks, the indictment claims Matanov continued to express support for the bomb, despite feeling bad for the victims families. The document reads, “He expressed sympathy for the victim’s families, although he continued to explain away the significance of the victims’ deaths on the ground that everyone must eventually die.”