Wednesday, May 11, 2016
Defendant Allegedly Contributed Funds to Send a Co-Conspirator Overseas to Join ISIL and to Finance the Purchase of a Firearm Once the Co-Conspirator Arrived in Syria
A superseding indictment was unsealed in the Eastern District of New York charging Azizjon Rakhmatov, 28, an Uzbeki national, with conspiring and attempting to provide material support to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), a designated foreign terrorist organization, and conspiring to use a firearm.
The charges were announced by Assistant Attorney General for National Security John P. Carlin, U.S. Attorney Robert L. Capers of the Eastern District of New York, Assistant Director in Charge Diego G. Rodriguez of the FBI’s New York Field Office, Commissioner William J. Bratton of the New York City Police Department (NYPD) and Special Agent in Charge Angel M. Melendez of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement-Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) New York.
Rakhmatov, who is charged with four others whose arrests and indictments have previously been announced, is scheduled to be arraigned at 2:00 p.m. today before U.S. Magistrate Judge James Orenstein of the Eastern District of New York at the U.S. Courthouse, 225 Cadman Plaza East, Brooklyn, New York.
As alleged in the third superseding indictment and other court filings, the investigation began when Abdurasul Juraboev, one of Rakhmatov’s co-conspirators, came to the attention of law enforcement. On an Uzbek-language website that propagates ISIL’s ideology, Juraboev posted an offer to engage in an act of martyrdom on U.S. soil on behalf of ISIL, such as killing the President of the United States. The investigation subsequently revealed that Juraboev and another co-defendant, Akhror Saidakhmetov, planned to travel to Turkey and then to Syria for the purpose of waging violent jihad on behalf of ISIL. Saidakhmetov was arrested on Feb. 25, 2015, at John F. Kennedy International Airport, where he was attempting to board a flight to Istanbul. Juraboev previously purchased a plane ticket to travel from New York to Istanbul and was scheduled to leave the United States in March 2015. Rakhmatov and three other co-defendants – Abror Habibov, Dilkhayot Kasimov and Akmal Zakirov – are charged with funding Saidakhmetov’s efforts to join ISIL. Juraboev pleaded guilty on Aug. 14, 2015, to conspiring to provide material support to ISIL.
As alleged in the third superseding indictment and other court filings, Rakhmatov helped to fund Saidakhmetov’s efforts to join ISIL. Specifically, Rakhmatov and Habibov discussed providing their own money to cover Saidakhmetov’s travel expenses and to purchase a firearm for Saidakhmetov once he arrived in Syria. Rakhmatov also agreed to raise money from others to fund Saidakhmetov’s travel. In the week leading up to Saidakhmetov’s scheduled departure, Rakhmatov transferred money into Zakirov’s personal bank account, which was intended to facilitate Saidakhmetov’s travel to join ISIL.
If convicted, Rakhmatov faces a maximum sentence of 50 years in prison. The charges in the superseding indictment are allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
Assistant Attorney General Carlin joined U.S. Attorney Capers in extending his grateful appreciation to the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, the FBI New Haven Division and the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the District of Connecticut.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Alexander A. Solomon, Douglas M. Pravda and Peter W. Baldwin of the Eastern District of New York, with assistance provided by Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen Reynolds of the District of Connecticut and Trial Attorney Danya Atiyeh of the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section.
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