By Jonathan Stempel and Brendan Pierson
NEW YORK (Reuters) – A Brooklyn man was sentenced on Friday to 15 years in prison after pleading guilty to conspiring to provide material support to Islamic State.
Abdurasul Hasanovich Juraboev, 27, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge William Kuntz in the federal court in Brooklyn.
The defendant, an Uzbekistan citizen who once chopped salad at a Brooklyn gyro shop, was one of six people charged in the same case with plotting to aid Islamic State, a U.S.-designated foreign terrorist organization.
Prosecutors sought a 15-year prison term, the maximum possible. Lawyers for Juraboev sought no more than five years, calling him an “unsophisticated, gullible, and lonely young man” who reached “wrong conclusions” about Islam and Islamic State.
Michael Weil, a federal public defender representing Juraboev, declined to comment after the sentencing.
Authorities said Juraboev had in August 2014 posted an online threat to kill then-U.S. President Barack Obama on behalf of Islamic State, and spoke of planting a bomb on Coney Island if the group ordered it.
Juraboev was arrested in February 2015, after buying a plane ticket to fly the next month to Istanbul, Turkey, intending to then travel to Syria to join Islamic State, authorities said.
Two co-defendants, Akhror Saidakhmetov and Abror Habibov, pleaded guilty this year, and charges are still pending against co-defendants Dilkhayot Kasimov, Azizjon Rakhmatov and Akmal Zakirov, court records show. Saidakhmetov faces a Dec. 13 sentencing.
Saidakhmetov was also arrested in February 2015, as he was boarding a plane to Istanbul, authorities said.
The arrests of Juraboev and Saidakhmetov followed roughly five months of interactions between the men and a paid informant posing as being ideologically sympathetic.
Other defendants were charged with conspiring to pay Juraboev’s and Saidakhmetov’s travel expenses.
Another Uzbekistan citizen, Dilshod Khusanov, was in August charged in a separate case with having discussed with Zakirov providing funds for Saidakhmetov’s trip, and helping others join Islamic State or al-Nusrah Front, another militant group.
More than 100 people have faced U.S. charges in connection with Islamic State since 2014.
(Reporting By Brendan Pierson and Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Marguerita Choy)