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Connecticut Uzbek Rakhmatov Gets 150 Months For Supporting ISIS Fighting In Syria in EDNY

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon
BBC - Guardian UK - Honduras - ESPN

EDNY COURTHOUSE, Jan 14 – Azizjon Rakhmatov, who pleaded guilty to conspiring to provide material support to ISIS by funding a fighter to and in Syria, was up for sentencing on January 14 before  United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York Judge William F. Kuntz.

He faced 160 months; he got 150 months. Inner City Press live tweeted it, here:

Judge Kuntz: Mr. Rakhmatov, are you ready to go forward today? Rakhmatov: Yes. Judge Kuntz: There is a statutory maximum of 15 years, no minimum, do you understand? Rakhmatov: Yes.

 Judge Kuntz: There is offense level of 37. The defendant does not agree - says disregard Guideline sections, argues they are unconstitutional. Wants offense level of 26.  [Inner City Press: expect an appeal on this, depending on what sentence is imposed.]

Defense: The government has no evidence that my client wants to kill non-Muslims. This is language that enflames the passions by fails in law (quoting another terrorism case]. Mr Rakhmatov's family in Uzbekistan is proud of him.

Defense: He thought his contributions were saving lives in Syria, not going to ISIS. But now the government wants to increase his sentencing from six years to 15 years. This terrorist enhancement, it is the offense of conviction. [That'd be the grounds of appeal]

Defense: Mr. Rakhmatov does not dress like a jihadi... According to Doctor Sageman, Mr. Rakhmatov condemns terrorism. But now he faces this enhancement.

Now defense lawyer says, Syria's is not a government, it is a state sponsor of terrorism. He asks, Did Congress intend the terrorism enhancement to be used in this case? My client only had a vague sense that Assad's regime should be resisted.

 Defense: Mr Rakhmatov is a brilliant artist. Look at his jail house work, I don't know if you can see it. [Can't]. Look at the workmanship, it pops up. He only wants to do his art, to be with his family. See how it pops up.

Judge Kuntz: Yes, the court can see it.

Judge Kuntz has taken a five minute break. Rakhmatov asks his lawyer Lawrence Stern to show another pop-up card to Judge Kuntz when he returns. Rakhmatov says, Look at this one, Larry. Stern: I don't think we can spend the whole day on an art show. 

AUSA: This is about a defendant who provided an armed fighter to fight on behalf of ISIS.  [Judge reads the underlying paragraph: the $400  was to fund travel to and expenses in Syria of a fighter.]

Judge Kuntz tells Stern: I remember the plea allocution. Not to criticize my colleagues, but I always take my own pleas, so I can hear them.

Now Rakhmatov himself: "I cannot bring the time back. I am really sorry." That's all he says. Judge Kuntz: Perfect justice is not possible.

Judge Kuntz sentenced Rakhmatov to: 150 months in prison Lifetime supervised release.


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