Published On: Fri, Apr 5th, 2019

Adam Raishani Sentenced 20 Years for Conspiring to Provide Material Support to ISIS

Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and John C. Demers, the Assistant Attorney General for National Security, announced that ADAM RAISHANI, a/k/a “Saddam Mohamed Raishani,” was sentenced to 20 years in prison for attempting to provide and conspiring to provide material support to the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (“ISIS”).  RAISHANI pled guilty to a Superseding Information on November 14, 2018, before U.S. District Judge Ronnie Abrams, who also imposed today’s sentence.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said:  “Adam Raishani may be a U.S. citizen, but he pledged his allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, the terrorist organization that seeks to destroy the ideals inherent to America.  In his efforts to show support to the organization, he helped another man make a trip to the Middle East so that he could join and train.  Then, a year later, Raishani decided to follow him, leaving Raishani’s wife and child behind in the United States.  Thankfully law enforcement was there to arrest him before he could make his dream of jihad a reality.  Now, Raishani will spend the next 20 years of his life behind bars for his treachery.”

photo/Islamic State flag

Assistant Attorney General John C. Demers said:  “Raishani tried to leave his young family to travel overseas to join ISIS.  Fortunately, he was arrested before he could leave the country.  Raishani is the latest in the long line of would-be terrorists whom we have arrested and prosecuted before they could accomplish their mission to provide material support to ISIS overseas.  I commend the agents, analysts, and prosecutors who are responsible for this result.”

According to the Superseding Information, other court filings, and statements made during court proceedings:

Beginning in the fall of 2015, RAISHANI conspired with another ISIS supporter (“CC-1”) to provide material support and resources to ISIS.  RAISHANI and CC-1 agreed to travel overseas to join and wage jihad for ISIS, with CC-1 to depart first.  On October 30, 2015, CC-1 departed from JFK Airport for Istanbul, Turkey, where he planned to cross into Syria to join and fight for ISIS.  RAISHANI helped coordinate CC-1’s transportation from the Bronx, New York, to John F. Kennedy International Airport (“JFK Airport”), and RAISHANI accompanied CC-1 from the Bronx to JFK Airport.

RAISHANI continued communicating with CC-1 following CC-1’s departure, using an encrypted email application in an effort to avoid law enforcement detection.  For example, on January 2, 2016, RAISHANI sent an email to CC-1 stating:  “Glad tidings brother. Its [sic] been some time since your voyage.  I pray to Allah The ALL MIGHTY to grant you success.  Until next time.”[1]  On April 1, 2016, RAISHANI sent another email to CC-1 stating:  “I hope Allah has bestowed you what you were seeking. . . . May Allah grant you sincere and clean intentions and make you among the righteous in Janatal Firdaus [a reference to Islamic paradise]. . . . Please return this email and respond to what we agreed upon before your departure.  Until next time.”  On May 3, 2016, CC-1 responded to RAISHANI, indicating that he had succeeded in joining the Islamic State.  CC-1 informed RAISHANI that CC-1 was “fine and well,” that CC-1 “wished you [RAISHANI] were here with me,” and that “here we are living with izza [honor].”

Also in May 2016, CC-1 posted content on a particular social media application (“Application-1”) indicating that CC-1 was living in the Islamic State and fighting on its behalf.  For example, CC-1 sent messages to another user of Application-1 stating:  “I’m living in the Islamic state safely and secure by the permission of Allah,” “[h]ere we are fighting the kuffars [non-believers],” and “I left the land of kuffars now I’m living in the khilafah [the caliphate].”  CC-1 also posted a photograph on Application-1 that shows CC-1 carrying an assault rifle and the flag of ISIS.

Between January and June of 2017, RAISHANI had a series of meetings with individuals who were, unbeknownst to RAISHANI, a confidential source working at the direction of law enforcement and an undercover law enforcement officer.  In the course of those meetings, RAISHANI admitted that he had previously helped another person (CC-1) travel overseas to join ISIS, and stated that he intended to travel overseas to join ISIS himself.  During those meetings, RAISHANI also downloaded and viewed violent ISIS propaganda videos, and expressed his desire to wage jihad on behalf of ISIS and his belief that the Quran can be read to justify the violence, including beheadings, perpetrated by ISIS.

By April 2017, RAISHANI was actively planning to travel abroad to join ISIS.  RAISHANI indicated that he aspired to join ISIS in Syria and that he aimed to travel before the end of Ramadan, an Islamic holy month that ran from approximately May 26 through June 24 of 2017.  In June 2017, RAISHANI made preparations to leave, including by paying off debts and purchasing clothing that he intended to wear for training with ISIS overseas.  RAISHANI indicated his intention to meet an ISIS member in Turkey, who would facilitate RAISHANI’s joining the terrorist organization in Syria.  In the course of communications with an undercover law enforcement officer, RAISHANI conveyed that he was prepared to die, to martyr himself, for ISIS.  On June 21, 2017, RAISHANI attempted to board a flight bound for Turkey (via Portugal) at JFK Airport, at which point law enforcement officers arrested him.

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