WASHINGTON, May 17 (RIA Novosti) – A 30-year-old citizen of Uzbekistan living in Idaho pleaded not guilty Friday in US federal court a day after he was arrested and charged with terrorism offenses including teaching bomb making and conspiring with a designated foreign terrorist organization.
Fazliddin Kurbanov was arrested Thursday in Boise, Idaho in a raid on his apartment after an “exhaustive” investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Joint Terrorism Task Forces in Idaho and Utah where some of his alleged offenses occurred, the US Justice Department said in a statement.
Kurbanov said little in court Friday and spoke through an interpreter.
In Tashkent, the capital of the former Soviet republic of Uzbekistan in Central Asia, a security services source who asked not to be named told RIA Novosti that authorities were in the process of verifying the suspect’s identity.
According to US officials, Kurbanov conspired “to provide material support and resources to the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan” (IMU), a militant Islamist movement outlawed in Uzbekistan and classified by the United States, Russia and other countries as a terrorist organization.
The IMU’s purpose is to overthrow the government of Uzbekistan, said David Barlow, US attorney in Utah, according to The Associated Press.
The indictment of Kurbanov also charges that he “possessed a destructive device” in November last year that included a hollow hand grenade, a fuse and other materials associated with an improvised explosive.
The charges against Kurbanov do not make clear whether the IMU accepted his alleged offers of material support including computer software and money or how he intended to use the destructive device.
“Given his arrest, we believe any potential threat he posed has been contained,” said Wendy Olson, US attorney in Idaho.
If convicted on the three charges in Idaho and one charge in Utah, Kurbanov could face up to 60 years in prison. He is due back in court on Tuesday for a detention hearing.
The arrest comes a month after the Boston Marathon double bombing, an attack allegedly carried out by two brothers of Chechen ethnicity who migrated to the United States from a mainly Muslim part of the former Soviet Union.
The elder brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, was killed during a shootout with police but the younger brother, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, stated in a note shortly before his capture and again to investigators afterwards that he carried out the Boston attack in retaliation for US killings of Muslims elsewhere in the world, US media reported.
(Story updated with plea, details on Friday’s court appearance, comments from US attorney in Idaho and US attorney in Utah)