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Third Uzbek Man Charged In New York With Aiding IS

Akhror Saidakhmetov (left) of Kazakhstan and Abdurasul Hasanovich Juraboev (right) of Uzbekistan appear with a court interpreter in Brooklyn federal court in New York on February 25.

Akhror Saidakhmetov (left) of Kazakhstan and Abdurasul Hasanovich Juraboev (right) of Uzbekistan appear with a court interpreter in Brooklyn federal court in New York on February 25.

An Uzbek national has been arrested and charged in New York in connection with an alleged plot by a group of Central Asian men to support the Islamic State (IS) group in Syria.

The defendant, 26-year-old Dilkhayot Kasimov, is an Uzbek citizen living in Brooklyn.

Kasimov was named alongside two other Uzbeks and a Kazakh national in a revised indictment on April 6. The Uzbek man will be formally arraigned in federal court in Brooklyn on April 8, according to Reuters.

The three other defendants are 24-year-old Abdulrasul Hasanovich Juraboev and 30-year-old Abror Habibov, both from Uzbekistan; and 19-year-old Akhror Saidakhmetov from Kazakhstan.

Officials from Kazakhstan's consulate in New York met with Saidakhmetov in March, but there have been no reports that the Uzbek authorities have responded to the charges against their citizens.

Saidakhmetov is accused of having plotted to travel to Syria via Turkey to join IS. Habibov, a businessman, allegedly collected money to fund him. Juraboev, who according to the indictment is also known as Abdulloh Ibn Hasan, also allegedly planned to join IS.

The revised indictment charges that Kasimov worked closely with Habibov to fund Saidakhmetov, collecting $1,600 from various individuals to finance his flight to Turkey.

Prosecutors also allege that Kasimov encouraged others to participate in "jihad" via messages on the Internet, where he made it clear that he wanted to facilitate potential militants' travel to Syria.

Assistant Attorney General for National Security John P. Carlin said in a statement published on the U.S. Department of Justice website on April 6 that Kasimov had "allegedly attempted and conspired with others to provide material support to ISIL."

An FBI official, Diego G. Rodriguez, said that Kasimov had "served as a money man in support of [Saidakhmetov's] efforts to join [IS]."

"He provided encouragement and facilitated travel for foreign fighters," Rodriguez added.

According to the original complaint filed against the three defendants, both Juraboev and Saidakhmetov expressed support for IS via an Uzbek-language pro-IS website, Hilofatnews.

Juraboev allegedly posted a message on the Uzbek site saying that he was in the United States and unarmed and asking if it were possible for him and his associates to "commit ourselves as dedicated martyrs anyway while here? What I'm saying is, to shoot [U.S. President Barack] Obama and then get shot ourselves, will it do?"

Saidakhmetov is also alleged to have described a plot to purchase an AK-47 rifle and use it to shoot police officers, if he was not able to carry out his plans to fight alongside IS militants in Syria.

Saidakhmetov, Juraboev and Habibov have all pleaded not guilty to the charges against them.

-- Joanna Paraszczuk

About This Blog

"Under The Black Flag" provides news, opinion, and analysis about the impact of the Islamic State (IS) extremist group in Syria, Iraq, and beyond. It focuses not only on the fight against terrorist groups in the Middle East, but also on the implications for the region and the world. The blog's primary author, James Miller, closely covered the first three years of the Arab Spring, with a focus on Syria, and is now the managing editor of The Interpreter, where he covers Russia's foreign and domestic policy and the Kremlin's wars in Syria and Ukraine. Follow him on Twitter: @Millermena


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