A civil rights group has accused the FBI of threatening to deport the friend of a Chechen man shot to death in his Orlando apartment by an agent during questioning about a Boston Marathon bombing suspect.
The Florida chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations on Wednesday said Tatiana Gruzdeva, a friend of Ibragim Todashev, was arrested Tuesday when she showed up at an immigration office to sign papers for an extension of her work visa.
The group said Gruzdeva was told she was being deported for talking publicly to Boston Magazine about Todashev.
FBI spokesman Paul Bresson declined to comment on Gruzdeva's arrest. A spokeswoman for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Carissa Cutrell, didn't return an email and phone call. Her voicemail said she was out because of the government shut down.
Todashev was killed last May while FBI agents and others questioned him about his friendship with suspected Boston Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev. Officials originally said the Chechen man lunged at an agent with a knife. They later said it was no longer clear what happened.
The group also said a friend of Todashev who was arrested last month on an unrelated charge was questioned for six hours by FBI agents about Todashev. When Ashurmamad Miraliev was arrested, he asked to have an attorney present during questioning but was denied the request, Shibly said.
"It's clear the FBI is taking retaliatory action by going after the family and friends of Todashev who have spoken out against the FBI for killing the unarmed Florida resident," CAIR-Florida executive director Hassan Shibly said in a statement.
Last month, Bresson said FBI interviews are done "either with his/her consent or with an attorney present."