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Man pleads guilty to funding Brooklyn residents’ travel to Syria to wage jihad

October 18, 2021 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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Dilshod Khusanov pleaded guilty in Brooklyn Federal Court on Monday to attempting to provide material support to two Brooklyn residents who were planning to travel to Syria to fight for the terrorist organization ISIS.

The proceeding was held before United States District Court Judge William F. Kuntz II. When sentenced, Khusanov faces 11 years’ imprisonment under the terms of his plea agreement with the government. As part of his plea agreement, he agreed to the entry of an order of removal, so he will be removed from the country after completing his sentence. 

As presented in court filings, Khusanov, of Chicago, encouraged individuals to travel to Syria to wage violent jihad, or holy war, in 2014 and 2015. 

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For example, on Sept. 28, 2014, Khusanov 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 other fighters. 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. 

U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Breon Peace. Photo courtesy of U.S. Justice Dept.

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 Khusanov, 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. 

Breon Peace, United States attorney for the Eastern District of New York; Mark J. Lesko, acting assistant attorney for the Justice Department’s National Security Division; Michael J. Driscoll, agent in charge for the FBI’s New York Field Office; and Dermot F. Shea, Commissioner, New York City Police Department (NYPD), announced the guilty plea. 

Dilshod Khusanov, defendant who pleaded guilty in Brooklyn court to aiding terrorism. Photo courtesy of U.S. Attorney’s Office

“With today’s plea, Khusanov admits to providing financial support to individuals seeking to travel to Syria to join a violent foreign terrorist organization that seeks to wage war on the United States and other countries,” stated United States Attorney Peace. “This office will continue to work tirelessly with its local, national and international law enforcement partners to eliminate the threat of terrorist violence posed by ISIS and ANF.” 

“Khusanov’s guilty plea is the final step toward wrapping up this years-long case in which the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force worked tirelessly—as they always do—to keep the citizens of our city and our country safe from potential terrorist acts,” said FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Driscoll. “Khusanov now awaits his fate for his willingness to provide support to ISIS and the Al-Nusra Front. This is not the end, however, of the FBI’s continued efforts—along with those of our partners—to diminish the threats posed by terrorists and would-be terrorists worldwide.” 

Khusanov is the last charged defendant in this plot to be convicted. Juraboev, Saidakhmetov, Habibov, Zakirov and Rakhmatov previously pleaded guilty, and Kasimov was convicted at trial. Juraboev and Saidakhmetov each were sentenced to 15 years’ imprisonment, and Rakhmatov was sentenced to 12 ½ years’ imprisonment. Habibov, Kasimov and Zakirov are awaiting sentencing.


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