Earlier today, in federal court in Brooklyn, Dilshod Khusanov, a citizen of Uzbekistan and a resident of Chicago, Illinois, was sentenced by United States District Judge William F. Kuntz II to 11 years’ imprisonment for attempting to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization, the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) and Al-Nusra Front (ANF). Khusanov pleaded guilty to the charge in October 2021. When Khusanov completes his sentence, he will be deported to his native Uzbekistan.
Breon Peace, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York; Matthew G. Olsen, Acting Assistant Attorney General of the Justice Department’s National Security Division; Michael J. Driscoll, Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office (FBI); and Keechant Sewell, Commissioner, New York City Police Department (NYPD), announced the sentence.
“With today’s sentence, Khusanov has been punished for providing blood money to support violent jihad in Syria and Iraq,” stated United States Attorney Peace. “The significant punishment will deter those who are considering aiding foreign fighters determined to join terrorist organizations like ISIS and Al-Nusra Front. Prosecuting those who assist terrorist organizations, here and abroad, will always be a priority of this Office.”
“Today’s sentencing further exemplifies the need to remain vigilant in our ongoing fight against international terrorism,” said NYPD Commissioner Sewell. “Our nation’s security begins with the dedicated local, state, and federal law-enforcement officers who are committed to keeping us safe, and we will hold anyone who funds violence against the American people fully accountable. I want to thank the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York, the Justice Department’s National Security Division, the FBI’s New York Field Office, and everyone else involved in this critical case for their outstanding work.”
According to court filings, in 2014 and 2015, Khusanov was a member of a financial support network that raised money for financing travel to Syria by individuals wishing to join and fight on behalf of ISIS and ANF. That network’s participants referred to it as “chayxona,” an Uzbek word which translates to the “tea house” or “tea party.”
Khusanov encouraged individuals to travel to Syria to wage violent jihad, or holy war. For example, on September 28, 2014, he urged co-conspirator Akmal Zakirov to engage in jihad: “I hope that the only [reason] that is preventing you from jihad is some mistakes and flaws that are occurring among the mujahedeen [freedom fighters] you witness or hear about.” Khusanov explained that it would be better to help those fighters, rather than criticize them.
Later in 2014, two Brooklyn residents, Abdurasul Juraboev and Akhror Saidakhmetov, began planning to travel to Syria to fight for ISIS. A group of individuals in a domestic network based in New York and elsewhere, including Khusanov, worked together to raise and contribute money to help fund that trip to Syria. In February 2015, Abror Habibov, Zakirov, Azizjon Rakhmatov, and Dilkhayot Kasimov discussed providing money to support Saidakhmetov’s travel and expenses in Syria. Rakhmatov and Zakirov also agreed to solicit money from others to fund Saidakhmetov’s travel. Zakirov contacted the defendant, then-based in Illinois, and asked him to contribute money for Saidakhmetov’s travel and to ask another individual to contribute money as well. Khusanov agreed and arranged for money to be deposited in Zakirov’s bank account before Saidakhmetov’s scheduled departure. Saidakhmetov was arrested in February 2015 at John F. Kennedy International Airport, as he boarded a plane bound for Istanbul, Turkey, a common transit point for foreign fighters bound for Syria.
Khusanov is the sixth of seven defendants convicted and sentenced in two prosecutions related to the plot. Juraboev, Saidakhmetov, and Kasimov each were sentenced to 15 years’ imprisonment; Rakhmatov was sentenced to 12 1/2 years’ imprisonment; and Zakirov was sentenced to time served after approximately seven-and-a-half years’ imprisonment. Habibov is awaiting sentencing.
The government’s case is being handled by the Office’s National Security & Cybercrime Section. Assistant United States Attorneys Douglas M. Pravda, Alexander A. Solomon, J. Matthew Haggans, and Jonathan E. Algor are in charge of the prosecution, with assistance provided by Trial Attorney Steven Ward of the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section.
E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 17-CR-475 (WFK)
U.S. v. ABDURASUL JURABOEV, et al.
E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 15-CR-95 (WFK)