Terrorism Trials & Investigations

Small World...Jury Conviction, New York, al-Shabab, Overseas Capture

By Robert Chesney
Thursday, July 7, 2011, 11:16 PM

Isn't this interesting....  In a case titled United States v. Kaziu (E.D.N.Y. July 7, 2011), a jury in Brooklyn today returned a guilty verdict against Betim Kaziu.  He was convicted on counts including conspiracy to kill overseas (18 USC 956(a)), conspiracy to provide material support to terrorism (18 USC 2339A), attempted provision of material support to al Shabab (18 USC 2339B), and conspiracy to use a firearm in connection with those offenses (18 USC 924).  The latter two, of course, are akin to the ones lodged this week against Ahmed Warsame.   Note too that Kaziu was captured abroad (in Kosovo, by Kosovar police), and then transferred to U.S. custody and brought to the United States.

BROOKLYN, NY – Following a two-week trial in the Eastern District of New York, a federal jury convicted Betim Kaziu today of conspiring to commit murder overseas, conspiring to provide material support to terrorism, attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization and conspiring to use a machine gun in furtherance of those crimes.

The evidence at trial established that the defendant traveled from Brooklyn to Cairo in February 2009 in order to wage violent jihad against U.S. troops in the Middle East and the Balkans. While in Cairo, the defendant also attempted to acquire automatic weapons and to travel to Somalia to join al-Shabaab, a Somali terrorist organization allied with al-Qaeda.  Ultimately, the defendant traveled to Kosovo in an effort to target American troops stationed there, or to travel onward to Pakistan to join al-Qaeda.

While in the Balkans, the defendant recorded a martyrdom video on the Albanian coast of his “last few moments” before he expected to depart for jannah, or paradise reserved for martyrs.  Shortly thereafter, on Aug. 27, 2009, the defendant was arrested in Kosovo by the Kosovo Police Service.  He was then transferred to the custody of agents and detectives of the New York Joint Terrorism Task Force to face terrorism charges filed in the Eastern District of New York.  At the time of his arrest, the defendant had already purchased a ticket to travel to Pakistan on Sept. 15, 2009.

Testimony at trial established that the defendant had been radicalized, in part, by Internet speeches by Anwar al-Awlaki and propaganda videos produced by al-Qaeda and al-Shabaab.  The government also introduced at trial evidence from the defendant’s social networking website, including quotes by Osama Bin Laden.

The defendant faces a sentence of up to life in prison.  Sentencing has been scheduled for Nov. 4, 2011.