By Richard Valdmanis

BOSTON (Reuters) - A third college friend of accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was indicted on charges he lied to federal investigators, the U.S. Attorney General for Massachusetts said in a statement on Thursday.

Robel Phillipos, 19, was one of the three people who removed a laptop and a backpack full of fireworks from Tsarnaev's dormitory room at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth and later lied about it, days after the April 15 attack, prosecutors claim.

The two other students, Dias Kadyrbayev and Azamat Tazhayakov - both from Kazakhstan - have already been indicted and detained pending trial. They could face 25 years in prison or deportation if convicted. They have pleaded not guilty.

Tsarnaev and his brother Tamerlan, ethnic Chechens, are believed to have set off the pair of homemade pressure-cooker bombs at the world-renowned marathon's finish line, killing three people and maiming scores of others in one of the worst attacks on U.S. soil since September 11, 2001.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev was killed in a shootout with police a few days after he bombing, though Dzhokhar was captured and imprisoned pending trial on terrorism charges.

(Writing by Richard Valdmanis; Editing by Carol Bishopric)

 

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