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Press Release

Defendant Charged With Threatening To Kill U.S. Embassy Official

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Virginia

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Robert S. Kanli, also known as Robert S. Martin, 33, born in La Mirada, California, was arrested on charges alleging that he emailed threats to kill an official in the United States Embassy in Pristina, Kosovo.

Dana J. Boente, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Gregory B. Starr, Director of the Diplomatic Security Service for the U.S. Department of State, made the announcement after Kanli’s initial appearance before United States Magistrate Judge Ivan D. Davis.  Kanli will appear in federal court on January 15, 2014 for a preliminary hearing and bond hearing.

Robert S. Kanli faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison if convicted.

According to court documents, Kanli, who has been residing outside the United States for several years, was attempting to obtain a sixth United States passport over the Internet when he was informed of a delay due to the number of lost passports he had previously reported.  After learning that his $56 application fee could not be refunded, Kanli wrote a series of threatening emails to a Consular Officer in the United States Embassy in Kosovo.  These communications explicitly threatened to kill the embassy employee who was helping Kanli with his replacement passport application.

Kanli was returned to the United States on January 10, 2014 after being released from custody in Kosovo, where he was held for threatening a foreign mission.

This investigation was conducted by the United States Diplomatic Security Service, with assistance provided by the Republic of Kosovo Police and Department of Criminal Justice and the Austrian Federal Police in connection with Kanli’s arrest and return to the United States.  Assistant United States Attorney Ronald L. Walutes, Jr. is prosecuting the case on behalf of the United States.

Criminal complaints are only charges and not evidence of guilt.  A defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty.

A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia at  Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia at or on
Updated March 18, 2015