Crime

Bomb charge dropped against Boise man in Utah terror case

Fazliddin Kurbanov, shown during a 2013 court appearance, maintained his innocence after being accused and later convicted of terrorism-related charges. (Drawing by Ward Hooper)
Fazliddin Kurbanov, shown during a 2013 court appearance, maintained his innocence after being accused and later convicted of terrorism-related charges. (Drawing by Ward Hooper)

Fazliddin Kurbanov, convicted last year of supporting a foreign terrorist organization in Uzbekistan and possessing a destructive device, has dropped an appeal in exchange for dismissal of a pending charge in Utah.

Kurbanov, 33, had challenged his conviction and the 25-year sentence handed down in a Boise federal courtroom by Senior U.S. District Judge Edward J. Lodge. Prosecutors also filed an appeal arguing that Kurbanov’s sentence wasn’t long enough.

Both filings before the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals were dismissed as part of the deal.

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

In May 2013, a Utah jury indicted him on charges of providing instruction on the construction and use of an improvised explosive device. The Idaho charges were brought that same month.

The Utah case, where Kurbanov would have faced up to 20 additional years in prison if convicted, was placed on hold while the Idaho case went to trial.

Boise attorney Chuck Peterson defended Kurbanov at trial and represented him in his appeal. He declined comment Thursday on the deal with prosecutors. U.S. Attorney for Idaho Wendy Olson could not be immediately reached for comment.

At sentencing, Lodge defended the 25-year sentence as fair based upon Kurbanov’s conduct.

“He intended to carry out jihad on the United States,” Lodge said. “He intended to explode a bomb in the U.S. to send a message, much like that delivered in the 9/11 attacks.”

FROM FUGITIVE TO POTENTIAL TERRORIST

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. He eventually settled in Boise, where he rented an apartment on South Curtis Road, near Borah High School.

He wrote in one of a series of emails and Internet chats that he was disgusted by the sight of Americans burning 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 said Kurbanov planned a terrorist attack that could eclipse the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, which 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.

Kurbanov maintained his innocence.

“I’m not a terrorist. I’ve never been one,” Kurbanov told Lodge through a translator before he was sentenced. “I’ve never caused any harm to anyone. And I have no intent to do that, especially not to Americans.”

1 OF HUNDREDS

Kurbanov is being held at the 769-inmate Metropolitan Detention Center operated by the Los Angeles Police Department in Downtown Los Angeles.

When he’s released, Kurbanov, who is not a United States citizen, will be deported back to Uzbekistan.

He is now among hundreds of people convicted of terrorism or terrorism-related charges since the Sept. 11 attacks

On Wednesday, U.S. Sens. Jeff Sessions, R-Alabama, and Ted Cruz, R-Texas, released a list of 580 people convicted of such charges between 9/11 and the end of 2014. Of those convicted, at least 380 were born outside the United States.

The information was provided by the Department of Justice to the Senate Subcommittee on Immigration and the Public Interest. Sessions serves as chairman of the subcommittee and Cruz is a member.

Kurbanov did not appear on the list since his conviction came after the cutoff date.

John Sowell: 208-377-6423, @IDS_Sowell

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