Uzbekistan national pleads not guilty on federal terrorism charges

Posted at 6:32 PM, May 17, 2013
and last updated 2013-05-18 00:41:50-04

BOISE - An Uzbekistan national pleaded not guilty to federal terrorism charges Friday.

His plea came as startling new details emerged in an Associated Press report. The AP says 30-year-old Fazliddin Kurbanov was targeting public transportation but it's unclear if that was domestic or abroad.

During Friday's federal appearance in Boise, Kurbanov used an interpreter to enter his plea and told the court he couldn't afford a lawyer.

In Idaho alone, he's facing three federal terrorism charges.

“One is a conspiracy to provide material support to a designated terrorist group,” said Wendy Olsen, the U.S. Attorney for Idaho.

Kurbanov allegedly funneled money and computer software to the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, a terrorist group in his home country, Uzbekistan. U.S. Justice Department officials declared the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan a terrorist organization in September of 2000.

Kurbanov left Uzbekistan in 2009 and legally came to America. He was a truck driver living amongst other refugees in a complex near downtown Boise.

Investigators raided the suspect's apartment Thursday. Prosecutors say he had an unregistered destructive device, plus parts and components to make explosives, including, "a hollow hand grenade, hobby fuse, aluminum powder, potassium nitrate and sulfur," the Idaho indictment states.

Neighbors were alarmed watching federal agents in Hazmat suits removing evidence from the suspect's apartment.

"You hear about it in the bigger cities, Boston, New York, but Boise, Idaho," said Boise resident Danelle Soderling.

In Utah, Kurbanov is accused of making online videos to teach others how to build a weapon of mass destruction. The U.S. Attorney says he even shopped with others, showing them how to build an improvised explosive device (IED).

It's unclear who was with the suspect. The U.S. Attorney in Utah isn't commenting on that, only saying that the investigation is still ongoing.

However, the indictment in Idaho openly talks about co-conspirators that the grand jury is aware of, leaving the legal door open that others could be charged. But so far, prosecutors are just focusing on Kurbanov.

His Idaho trial is scheduled for July 2. His next court appearance is detention hearing on Tuesday, May 21. Witnesses, including investigators from Utah, may testify.

Related post:
Man arrested in Boise on multiple federal terrorism charges