Brooklyn Resident From Albania Sentenced To 15 Years’ Imprisonment For Attempting To Support Terrorism
Earlier today, at the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York in Brooklyn, New York, Agron Hasbajrami, an Albanian citizen and Brooklyn resident, was sentenced to 15 years in prison for attempting to provide material support to terrorists. Hasbajrami will be removed from the United States at the conclusion of his sentence.
The sentence was announced by Loretta E. Lynch, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York; Lisa O. Monaco, Assistant Attorney General for the National Security Division; George Venizelos, Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office; and Raymond W. Kelly, Commissioner, New York City Police Department.
As stated on the record during the guilty plea and sentencing proceedings and according to court filings, in early 2011, while living in Brooklyn, Hasbajrami exchanged email messages with an individual in Pakistan who indicated that he was a member of an armed group that had murdered American soldiers. Hasbajrami sent the individual more than $1,000 to support the jihadist cause. Then, in pursuit of his goal to engage personally in violent jihad, Hasbajrami arranged to meet the individual in the Federally Administered Tribal Area of Pakistan (the “FATA”). In one email message, Hasbajrami stated that he wished to travel abroad to “marry with the girls in paradise,” using jihadist rhetoric to describe his desire to die as a martyr.
In September 2011, Hasbajrami purchased a one-way airplane ticket to travel to the Middle East on his way to the FATA to fight violent jihad. He was arrested by the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force at John F. Kennedy International Airport in Queens, New York, as he embarked on his one-way flight. At the time of his arrest, Hasbajrami was carrying a tent, boots, and cold-weather gear. A search of Hasbajrami’s residence in Brooklyn revealed, among other items, a note reading “Do not wait for invasion, the time is martyrdom time.” In April 2012, Hasbajrami pled guilty in federal district court in Brooklyn to attempting to provide material support to terrorists by joining a jihadist fighting group overseas. United States District Judge John Gleeson imposed sentence earlier today.
“Hasbajrami sought to use New York as the launching pad for his terrorist scheme. Hoping to die a martyr to the cause of violent jihad, he will spend 15 years of his remaining days in federal prison. In addition, this sentence should serve as a strong deterrent to anyone who would consider supporting terrorism or launching an operation from the United States,” stated United States Attorney Lynch. “This case exemplifies how law enforcement works to protect both our citizens at home and our servicemen abroad.” Ms. Lynch thanked the Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the United States Secret Service, the other federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies who participate in the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force in New York, and the Department of Justice’s Counterterrorism Section, for their work on the case.
FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Venizelos stated, “The global nature of our effort to prevent terrorism works in two directions. We continue to work with overseas partners to thwart those plotting abroad to do harm here. Today’s sentence shows the result of our efforts to prevent someone here from going overseas to endanger or kill Americans abroad.”
The government’s case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Seth D. DuCharme and Matthew S. Amatruda with assistance provided by Trial Attorney Courtney Sullivan of the Counterterrorism Section of the Department of Justice.