TASHKENT (TCA) — A refugee from Uzbekistan who was convicted of supporting a terrorist group was sentenced to 11 years in U.S. prison on August 30, but will receive credit for six years he already has served in custody, RFE/RL reports.
A U.S. jury in June found Jamshid Muhtorov, 42, guilty of providing $300 and other support to the Islamic Jihad Union, a militant Islamist group opposed to secular rule in Uzbekistan which has staged attacks there and in Afghanistan.
U.S. District Judge John Kane in his sentence wrote that Muhtorov’s support for “the illicit causes of a violent organization” was “serious and his rhetoric is frightening,” but he noted that Muhtorov did not commit any violent acts in the United States.
A co-defendant, Bakhtiyor Jumaev, was convicted of similar charges at a separate trial in April.
Muhtorov and his family arrived in the United States in 2007 through a refugee resettlement program after fleeing Uzbekistan, where Muhtorov allegedly had been beaten for his human rights work.
Prosecutors argued that he soon became frustrated and angry about life in the United States, and booked a one-way ticket to Turkey in 2012 with the goal of joining the Uzbek militant group.
But Muhtorov’s attorneys said the $300 he sent to Uzbekistan did not go to the group but went into a bank account and his wife spent it all. They said Muhtorov intended to return to Uzbekistan to help his brother apply for refugee status, not to join the militant group.
The judge ordered that Muhtorov be transferred to U.S. immigration authorities once he is released from prison.
Muhtorov’s attorneys claimed that if immigration authorities deport him to Uzbekistan, he may be jailed or killed.