A United States court has sentenced Uzbek national Ulugbek Kodirov to 15 years in prison for threatening to assassinate President Barack Obama.
Kodirov, 22, was accused of plotting to kill the US president, illegal possession of weapons, and providing financial assistance to terrorists. The July 13 sentencing in Alabama came after the defendant entered a guilty plea this February.
Kodirov came to the FBI’s attention when he posted internet messages announcing his plan to kill Obama, and was arrested in July 2011 while buying a firearm from an undercover agent pretending to be an arms dealer.
He had arrived in the US in 2009 on a student visa, which was later revoked.
During the trial, it transpired that he entered into a web correspondence with someone he believed to be from the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, IMU, an armed group that in recent years has been allied with the Taleban and based in Pakistan and Afghanistan. They discussed his assassination plan.
Kodirov's attorney, Lance Bell, said his client is "not a big bad terrorist", just a "victim" of radical Islamists, including the IMU.
Kodirov is not the only Uzbek national arrested on terrorism charges in the US.
In January this year, Jamshid Mukhtorov was arrested at the airport in Chicago. He faces a possible 15-year term if convicted of financing and supporting the Islamic Jihad Union, an IMU splinter group.
Mukhtorov, 35, had been granted asylum in the US on the grounds that he was persecuted in Uzbekistan, as a local branch head of the Ezgulik human rights group.
In March, 45-year-old Bakhtiyor Jumaev was arrested in Philadelphia, also on suspicion of aiding and abetting the Islamic Jihad Union.
This article was produced as part of News Briefing Central Asia output, funded by the National Endowment for Democracy.
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