Diversity Visa Lottery Winner Offered to Kill Obama for ISIS
Abdurasul Hasanovich Juraboev was both lucky and evil.
His luck was demonstrated when he won admission to the United States through the diversity visa lottery; his evilness, by his stated willingness to assassinate the president of the United States or commit a terrorist attack in New York City — if he could not travel to Syria to join the Islamic State, and if that is what the Islamic State ordered him to do.
When Juraboev was sentenced to 15 years in prison on Oct. 27, 2017, New York City Police Commissioner James O'Neill summarized his case in a statement released by the U.S. Justice Department.
“The defendant in this case lived in Brooklyn while making plans to travel to Syria to support a design(at)ed terrorist organization,” O'Neill said. “If that was not successful, the defendant schemed of bombing Coney Island or killing the president of the United States.”
This story starts in 2011.
“Juraboev, a national of Uzbekistan, was admitted to the United States as a diversity visa lottery recipient in 2011,” said a report issued jointly this week by the Department of Justice and Department of Homeland Security.
Three years later in 2014 — according to an Oct. 25, 2017, sentencing letter that then-Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York Bridget Rohde sent to U.S. District Judge William Kuntz — Juraboev “first came to the attention of the government with his online postings on an Uzbek-language social media website.”
The website, according to the U.S. attorney, “propagated ISIS’s ideology and called for its Uzbek-speaking audience to join ISIS.”
On Aug. 8, 2014, Juraboev, then about 24 years old, went to this site and posted an alarming message.
“Greetings!” he wrote. “We too wanted to pledge our allegiance and commit ourselves while not present there. I am in USA now but we don’t have any arms. But is it possible to commit ourselves as dedicated martyrs anyway while here?
"What I am saying is, to shoot Obama and then get shot ourselves, will it do?” Juraboev said.
“That will strike fear in the hearts of the infidels,” he said.
The FBI filed a complaint and affidavit on Feb. 24, 2015, seeking the arrest of Juraboev and two others.
Law enforcement, it turns out, had tracked Juraboev’s website posting to an IP address associated with “a residence in Brooklyn.” Agents went there on Aug. 15, 2014, and interviewed him.
“First, Juraboev acknowledged that he wrote and posted the above-referenced message on (the website), which he characterized as the Uzbek-language site of ISIL,” said the FBI affidavit.
“Juraboev also stated his belief in ISIL’s terrorist agenda, including the establishment by force of an Islamic caliphate in Iraq and Syria,” said the affidavit. “Juraboev further stated that he would like to travel to Syria to engage in violence on behalf of ISIL ‘if Allah wills,’ but currently lacked the means to travel there.
"In addition,” said the affidavit, “Juraboev stated that he would harm President Barack Obama if he had the opportunity to do so, but currently does not have the means or an imminent plan to do so.”
On Aug. 18, 2014, “law enforcement agents” again interviewed Juraboev at his residence.
“While admitting that he does not like President Obama because of his role in killing Muslims through his support of Israel and the recent bombing of ISIL,” the affidavit said of this second interview, “Juraboev stated that he would not kill President Obama because of ill will towards him, but rather because of ‘Allah.’”
“He added that, if ISIL ordered him to kill President Obama, he would do so,” the affidavit said.
“Juraboev noted,” the affidavit said, “that if he received an affirmative or positive response from ISIL to the above-referenced posting on (the website), he would kill President Obama.
"Juraboev added,” the affidavit said, “that he would also plant a bomb on Coney Island if he were so ordered by ISIL.”
In her sentencing letter to Judge Kuntz, Acting U.S. Attorney Rohde summarized this same interview with Juraboev and cited a written statement he gave to law enforcement officials that day.
“In this statement,” the U.S. attorney said, “the defendant reiterated his allegiance to ISIS (‘I also want to fight and sincerely become a martyr under the Islamic Caliphate against the polytheists and infidels. … I gave pledge to Islamic State’) and his intention of killing President Obama (‘Even if that person is Obama.!’) if commanded to do so by ISIS (‘If I get a command from the Islamic Caliphate’).”
He was arrested in February 2015 after he “purchased a ticket to Turkey, from which he intended to go to Syria and join ISIS.”
On Aug. 14, 2015, diversity visa lottery winner Abdurasul Hasanovich Juraboev pleaded guilty to conspiring to provide material support to the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant. At that time, then-New York City Police Commissioner William J. Bratton summarized the case in essentially the same way current O'Neill characterized it in October when Juraboev was sentenced.
“Abdurasul Juraboev,” Bratton said in a release put out by then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s Justice Department, “was quite clear that he wanted to provide material support to ISIL by fighting in Syria, if not, by his offer to assassinate the President of the United States, or by carrying out a terrorist attack in Coney Island.”
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