Kurbanov sentenced to 25 years in prison

Posted at 4:32 PM, Jan 07, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-08 13:14:35-05

An Uzbekistan refugee convicted of terrorism-related charges in Idaho will spend the next 25 years in prison.

Fazliddin Kurbanov showed little emotion when read his sentence from a federal judge, ending a saga that shocked a normally-quiet Boise Bench neighborhood when federal agents raided his apartment in May of 2013.

During the sentencing hearing, prosecution informed the court Kurbanov had been aggressive and non-compliant while incarcerated in jail.

Jail surveillance footage played for the court showed Kurbanov attempting to intentionally set off a fire alarm using a shoe.

In a different incident, jail surveillance footage showed Kurbanov yelling and fleeing from officers after being denied use of a laptop. When caught, he allegedly cursed at jail staff according to Deputy Daniel Wilkins of the Ada County Sheriff's Office. During sentencing, U.S. District Judge Edward J. Lodge told Kurbanov he was "taken aback" by his conduct while incarcerated.

The defense argued Kurbanov did not actually set off a destructive device or harm anyone and asked for a sentence of no more than 13 years. Kurbanov told the court that he did not harm anyone and never intended to do so before being handed down his prison sentence.

Authorities say Kurbanov fled Uzbekistan and arrived to the United States in 2009, eventually locating to Boise with his family.

Agents began investigating Kurbanov in 2012 – and arrested him in May 2013, after they became suspicious of e-mails and Skype conversations he had with people running a website supportive of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU).

The IMU has been designated as a foreign terrorist organization by the United States,  and investigators say Kurbanov discussed with the website administrator possible plans to build a bomb and target military bases in both Idaho and Texas.

According to the FBI, Kurbanov asked for instructions on how to construct a bomb – and purchased bomb-making materials in 2013.

When his apartment on Curtis Road was raided, agents say they found a hand grenade, a hobby fuse, ammunition containing smokeless powder, tannerite, aluminum powder, potassium nitrate, charcoal, yellow sulfur powder and fertilizer.

Kurbanov was arrested and convicted on August 12th, 2015 of one count of conspiracy to provide material support to a terrorist organization, one count of attempting to provide material support to a terrorist organization and one count of possession of an unregistered destructive device by a jury.

Following the conviction, U.S. District Attorney Wendy Olson emphasized that Kurbanov would be used as an example to other possible terrorist.

“Today’s verdict sends the clear message that where individuals intend to pursue acts of terrorism against the United States—whether in Boise, Idaho, or any other community—they will be brought to justice,” Olson said, following the conviction.

Kurbanov’s lawyer tried twice to have the charges dismissed following the conviction, but U.S. District Judge Edward J. Lodge denied the motion.

A separate case filed in Utah during May of 2013 where Kurbanov was accused of showing of person how to build a bomb will proceed following his Idaho sentence.

Kurbanov has been charged in Utah with one federal count of teaching others how to make an explosive device over a period of ten days according to the Deseret News.

“Fazliddin Kurbanov was sentenced for conspiring and attempting to provide material support to the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan and procuring bomb-making materials in the interest of executing a terrorist attack on American soil,” said Assistant Attorney General Carlin.  “Thankfully, the threat posed by Kurbanov was disrupted by the tireless efforts of the law enforcement community and its partners.  Defending our nation from the threat of terrorism, whether at home or abroad, remains the highest priority of the National Security Division, and we will continue to hold accountable those who seek to harm to our country and our citizens.”

The investigation involved numerous law enforcement agencies including the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations, Ada County and Canyon County Sheriff’s Offices and the Boise City Police Department.

In his sentencing hearing, Judge Lodge denied the state's request for an obstruction of justice sentencing enhancement, but decided a terrorism enhancement did apply.

He also ruled two of Kurbanov's convictions to be served concurrently rather than consecutively.

Lodge also discussed Kurbanov's Facebook posts which he says showed clear and convincing evidence Kurbanov had intent to cause harm against the United States, with plans to detonate explosives in retaliation.

Judge Lodge told the court Kurbanov's trial and conviction cost the state more than one million dollars including costs for incarceration, jury, and intepretors, therefore ordered Kurbanov an additional 250,000 dollar fine.

Upon his release at nearly 60 years old, Kurbanov will likely be deported. Judge Lodge addressed him in court telling him he will "obviously be watched very closely."