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October 18, 2017Philadelphia, PA, United StatesHuman Rights Violators

Liberian national found guilty of immigration fraud, perjury

PHILADELPHIA – A Liberian national was found guilty Wednesday of two counts of fraud in immigration documents and two counts of perjury, following an extensive investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Philadelphia.

Mohammed Jabbateh, 51, aka “Jungle Jabbah” a citizen of Liberia, lied about his activities during Liberia’s first civil war when applying for immigration benefits. Jabbateh was not truthful about his activities as a member of the United Liberation Movement of Liberia for Democracy (ULIMO) and later ULIMO-K, rebel groups that battled for control of Liberia. Jabbateh was a battalion commander in ULIMO and ULIMO-K from approximately 1992 through 1995.

According to the indictment, Jabbateh, during his overall time as a ULIMO commander or as a higher-ranking officer, either personally committed, or ordered ULIMO troops under his command to commit, the following nonexclusive list of acts: 1) the murder of civilian noncombatants; 2) the sexual enslavement of women; 3) the public raping of women; 4) the maiming of civilian noncombatants; 5) the torturing of civilian noncombatants; 6) the enslavement of civilian noncombatants; 7) the conscription of child soldiers; 8) the execution of prisoners of war; 9) the desecration and mutilation of corpses; and 10) the killing of persons because of race, religion, nationality, ethnic origin or political opinion.

The jury found that Jabbateh knew he was answering falsely when he denied having ordered, incited, assisted or otherwise participated in the killing of any person because of race, religion, nationality, ethnic origin or political opinion.

"The United States will not be a safe haven for human rights violators and war criminals,” said Marlon Miller, special agent in charge of HSI’s Philadelphia office. “Today’s verdict will help bring justice to the victims of Mr. Jabbateh's atrocities, for having survived the suffering he inflicted during the Liberian Civil War. HSI will continue to use every tool at our disposal to ensure that those who have committed such acts abroad never evade justice and accountability for their crimes by hiding among their victims in the United States.”

At sentencing, Jabbateh faces a maximum possible sentence of 30 years in prison, a possible fine, a $400 special assessment, and a period of supervised release.

HSI Philadelphia was supported by ICE’s Philadelphia Office of the Chief Counsel and ICE’s Human Rights Violators and War Crimes Center (HRVWCC). Established in 2009 to further ICE’s efforts to identify, track, and prosecute human rights abusers, the HRVWCC leverages the expertise of a select group of agents, lawyers, intelligence and research specialists, historians, and analysts who direct the agency’s broader enforcement efforts against these offenders.

Since 2003, ICE has arrested more than 380 individuals for human rights-related violations of the law under various criminal and immigration statutes. During that same period, ICE obtained removal orders against and physically removed 785 known or suspected human rights violators from the United States. Additionally, ICE has facilitated the departure of an additional 108 such individuals from the United States.

Currently, HSI has more than 160 active investigations into suspected human rights violators and is pursuing more than 1,750 leads and removals cases involving suspected human rights violators from 95 different countries. Since 2003, the HRVWCU has issued more than 70,400 lookouts for individuals from more than 110 countries and stopped 213 human rights violators and war crimes suspects from entering the U.S.

Members of the public who have information about foreign nationals suspected of engaging in human rights abuses or war crimes are urged to call the ICE Tip Line at 1-866-DHS-2423 (1-866-347-2423). Callers may remain anonymous. To learn more about the assistance available to victims in these cases, the public should contact ICE’s confidential victim-witness toll-free number at 1-866-872-4973.