We remember when Jamshid Muhtorov was arrested attempting to leave the country in 2012 and I have wondered what the heck was going on that his case was not going to trial.
Before reading on, you might want to revisit another notorious case of an Uzbek refugee sentenced to prison in Idaho who subsequently tried to kill the prison warden where he had been incarcerated, see here.
Now to the story from Denver about Jamshid Muhtorov where we learn the trial delay was due to his lawyer’s efforts to challenge the use of information from NSA surveillance:
Trial underway for refugee who challenged NSA surveillance
DENVER – A refugee from Uzbekistan conspired to support a terrorist group financially and planned to travel overseas to join them, U.S. prosecutors said Thursday, walking jurors through a trove of phone calls, emails and other online activity they said proves the man’s desire to help the group.
The start of Jamshid Muhtorov’s trial comes more than six years after his arrest at a Chicago airport. The case led to the U.S. Justice Department’s first disclosure that it intended to use information obtained through one of the National Security Agency’s warrantless surveillance programs.
Muhtorov challenged the constitutionality of the warrantless surveillance program but Judge John Kane ruled in 2015 that the program may have potential for abuse but did not violate his rights.
Muhtorov’s attorney said during opening statements that the former human rights worker did email with people who claimed to belong to the Islamic Jihad Union, but said he was play-acting as a distraction from a sometimes difficult transition to America and never sent the organization money or intended to join them.
Prosecutor Greg Holloway peppered his opening statement with references to recordings of Muhtorov’s phone calls and emails, telling jurors that they would hear of Muhtorov’s desire to help the terror group and become a martyr in “the defendant’s own words.”
One of MANY unhappy refugees in America!
After coming to the Denver area in 2007 through a refugee resettlement program, prosecutors said he became “frustrated with life” and began emailing with the terror group through its website. By 2012, he told an FBI informant of plans to join the group and become a fighter, Holloway said.
Muhtorov was arrested while waiting to board a flight to Istanbul, and Holloway said agents found $2,800 in cash, two new iPhones and a new iPad in his luggage. In a recorded phone call days before the flight, Holloway said Muhtorov asked his daughter to “pray for your daddy to become a martyr.”
Muhtorov did feel discouraged at times by life in the U.S., said his attorney, Kathryn Stimson. He worked at a processing plant [meatpacking we presume!—ed], a casino and then as a truck driver after being a human rights worker in Uzbekistan.
He also believed that the Islamic Jihad Union’s priority was deposing the dictator leading Uzbekistan, she said. Conversations about joining or somehow helping the group were a fantasy, a way to feel like the respected human rights workers he once was, she said.
Using refugee resettlement for unrelated foreign policy objectives is wrong!
There was always something very fishy about the Uzbek stream of refugees coming to the US—-could our State Department and CIA be helping the ruling ‘moderate’ Muslim Uzbek government by removing their troublemakers to America and placing them in your unsuspecting neighborhoods?
Many of these Uzbeks, like Muhtorov, didn’t seem to want to be here! So, again, why were they brought here??? And, what did we get out of the deal for our trouble?
I discussed the issue of using refugees as pawns for other foreign policy objectives here earlier this month.
Fox News continues…..
So other refugees from Uzbekistan were committing crimes? But, this one gets off free?
They then turned to another man from Uzbekistan, who she said became an informant to avoid charges of tax fraud, marriage fraud and immigration fraud. The unnamed informant developed a relationship with Muhtorov, passing information to federal authorities about Muhotorov’s claims that he was taking on a role in the terror group.
See my Uzbek archive here.