Boise terrorist seeks post-conviction acquittal

For a second time, a lawyer for a Boise man convicted last month of providing material support to a terrorist group in Uzbekistan and possession of an unregistered destructive device is trying to get the charges dismissed.

In a motion filed in federal court in Boise, attorney Charles Peterson said there was insufficient evidence for the jury of eight women and four men to find Fazliddin Kurbanov, 33, guilty. Peterson made the same argument at the end of the prosecution’s case, with U.S. District Judge Edward J. Lodge denying the motion at that time.

“There was insufficient proof of an actual conspiracy to provide material support as charged in Count I. There was insufficient proof that Mr. Kurbanov possessed components that could actually be readily assembled into a destructive device as charged in Count III, especially since the dummy grenade body was never proven to have the ability to contain the gasses resulting from ignition of any compound so as to produce an explosion,” Peterson wrote.

Peterson also claims that there was no proof that Kurbanov intended to use the component as a destructive device or that the characteristics of the components required registration.

Kurbanov came to the United States with his family as refugees in 2009.

While still in Uzbekistan, Kurbanov’s parents and sister left Islam and converted to Christianity. They were persecuted, and a friend who was a government official told them they had been placed on a watch list because of their religious beliefs. So they fled. Kurbanov, still a Muslim, went with them and brought his wife and son.

Kurbanov eventually settled in Boise, where he rented an apartment on South Curtis Road.

He wrote in one of a series of emails and Internet chats that he was disgusted by the sight of Americans burning the Islam holy book, the Quran. Another time, he wrote that he turned against the U.S. after learning an American soldier had tried to rape a Muslim girl.

Prosecutors alleged Kurbanov planned a terrorist attack that could eclipse the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing that killed 168 people and injured hundreds more. Authorities began looking into Kurbanov’s activities after he attracted the attention of the FBI through postings on Facebook and YouTube. He uploaded more than 100 terror videos from the IMU website to the YouTube account.

The defense denied that there was a conspiracy to carry out a bombing of a military base or other targets and denied that Kurbanov committed any crimes.

Peterson said the two counts of providing material support to the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan under which Kurbanov was convicted were based on the same alleged conduct. He asked Lodge, if the judge doesn’t dismiss all of the charges, to vacate on of those two material support counts.

The jury reached a unanimous verdict on Kurbanov’s guilt following two full days of deliberation. Jurors found the defendant not guilty on two other conspiracy charges.

Federal prosecutors have until Sept. 16 to file a response.

Kurbanov faces up to 40 years in prison when he’s sentenced Nov. 10.