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U.S. Court Sentences Kazakh To 15 Years For Conspiring To Support IS

A courtroom sketch shows Akhror Saidakhmetov (left) and Abdurasul Juraboev and a court interpreter in court in Brooklyn in February 2015.

A Kazakh citizen living in the New York City borough of Brooklyn has been sentenced to 15 years in prison for conspiring to provide material support to the extremist group Islamic State (IS).

The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of New York said on December 20 that Akhror Saidakhmetov, 22, will be removed from the United States after serving his sentence.

In January, Saidakhmetov pleaded guilty to having conspired to provide material support to the IS.

Saidakhmetov, one of six people charged in the case, was arrested in February 2015 at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport, where he was attempting to fly to Istanbul.

Prosecutors said Saidakhmetov was on his way to Syria to join IS militants. They said he had stated that if he were unable to travel to Syria to join the IS, he would attack law enforcement officers in the United States.

A lawyer for Saidakhmetov, Adam Perlmutter, said the defense was "disappointed with the sentence imposed by the court."

"We...believe that a more nuanced and lenient outcome would better address both the needs of our client and the broader challenges posed by these types of cases," Perlmutter told Reuters by e-mail.

U.S. authorities said that Abdurasul Juraboev, an Uzbek citizen also living in Brooklyn, had planned to travel to Syria with Saidakhmetov. Juraboev pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 15 years in prison in October.

One of four people charged with helping Saidakhmetov and Juraboev in their plan, Abror Habibov, pleaded guilty earlier this year.

Court records show that charges are still pending against the other three, Dilkhayot Kasimov, Azizjon Rakhmatov, and Akmal Zakirov.

Another Uzbek citizen, Dilshod Khusanov, was charged in August with having discussed providing funds for Saidakhmetov’s trip and helping others join IS or the Al-Nusra Front, another militant group.

With reporting by Reuters
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