Two university friends of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev who were jailed by immigration authorities the day after his capture had nothing to do with the deadly attack, a lawyer for one of them says.
They had also seen no hints that he harboured any violent thoughts or terrorist sympathies.
Azamat Tazhayakov and Dias Kadyrbayev, who are from Kazakhstan, were classmates with Tsarnaev at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. They appeared alongside him in a recent photograph of a group of young men visiting New York City's Times Square.
They were detained on April 20 after being questioned in connection with the bombing, which had killed three people and injured more than 260 others a few days earlier.
"These kids are just as shocked and horrified about what happened as everyone else," Kadyrbayev's lawyer, Robert Stahl, said in a phone interview on Friday.
"They can't even fathom something like this from a kid who seemed to be a typical young college student."
Tazhayakov and Kadyrbayev had been interviewed at length, twice, by FBI agents and had co-operated fully, Stahl said.
They were not suspects but were being held for violating their student visas by not regularly attending classes, Stahl said.
They are being detained at a county jail in Boston.
The Kazakh Foreign Ministry said earlier this week that US authorities came across the two while searching for "possible links and contacts" to Tsarnaev, a student at the university.
US immigration officials have declined to discuss the reasons why the men were detained.