A Brooklyn man's tears were not enough to sway a federal judge to go easy in sentencing the legal permanent resident to 15 years in prison. Abgdural Juraboev (27) won the Diversity Visa lottery that allows 50,000 foreign nationals to jump ahead of the line of immigrant visa applicants. In a New York City federal court on Friday, Juraboev abjured the Islamic State (ISIS) and tearfully rejected the terrorist recruiters who lured him into plotting terrorist acts. Juraboev said that he regretted his actions and that what he followed "wasn't real Islam."
A native of Uzbekistan, Juraboev said, "I didn't know my religion correctly." He said that the combatants and propagandists of ISIS were "doing many things wrong."
Federal Judge William Kuntz was apparently unmoved by Juraboev's tears and issued the maximum sentence.
Court documents showed that Juraboev made online threats to kill then-President Barack Obama in 2014. According to prosecutors, Juraboev wanted to fight overseas in Syria or bring terror to New York. When he got an airline ticket to Turkey, Juraboev intended to travel to Syria. However, authorities arrested him and his conspirators before the trip could begin.
In Brooklyn, Juraboev ran a sandwich shop after getting a visa to come to America through the Diversity Visa program. Defense attorneys pleaded for clemency, saying that Juraboev emigrated without his relatives or friends. Defense counsel Michael Weil told the judge that the "lonely, confused" Juraboev "gravitated towards his religion but instead of religion, it was propaganda." Juraboev "never intended to do anything in this country," Weil isaid.
Juraboev was one of six charged by the federal government for plotting terror against the United States. He pleaded guilty to a plot to give material support to ISIS. U.S. Attorney Bridget Rohde said the sentence "holds Juraboev to account for his plans to join ISIS and engage in violent jihad overseas or carry out a terrorist attack in the United States if he was unable to travel to Syria."
It is not clear whether Juraboev had any connection to Sayfullo Saipov, a fellow citizen of Uzbekistan who allegedly killed eight persons and wounded 11 more in a rampage on Monday. Saipov was shot by New York City police and is recovering in a local hospital. He pledged his allegiance to ISIS in a note that was found in the pickup truck he used to mow down five Argentine tourists, a 32-year-old Belgian mother, and two others. Saipov also came to the United States through the Diversity Visa Program, which President Donald Trump and some Republicans wish to abolish.