NEW YORK — An Uzbekistan citizen was indicted Wednesday, in federal court in the Eastern District of New York for 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 against Azizjon Rakhmatov, 28, a citizen of Uzbekistan stem from an investigation by members of the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF), which includes U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the New York City Police Department (NYPD).
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. Juraboev posted on an Uzbek-language website that propagates ISIL’s ideology his 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, Turkey. 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 funds were 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.