Irfan Demirtas, aka Nasrullah, 56, a duel Dutch-Turkish national, made his first appearance today in the U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia on a federal indictment charging him with terrorism offenses arising from his support of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), a designated foreign terrorist organization.
The indictment was announced by Assistant Attorney General for National Security John P. Carlin, Acting U.S. Attorney Vincent H. Cohen Jr. of the District of Columbia and Assistant Director in Charge Andrew G. McCabe of the FBI’s Washington, D.C., Field Office.
“According to the allegations in the indictment, Demirtas provided material support to the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, a designated foreign terrorist organization, through his fundraising and recruiting activities,” said Assistant Attorney General Carlin. “Counterterrorism is the National Security Division’s highest priority and we will continue to pursue justice against those who provide material support to designated foreign terrorist organizations.”
“Today Irfan Demirtas was brought into an American courtroom to face charges that he raised money and recruited fighters for a foreign terrorist organization battling the Afghan government and its allies, including U.S. troops,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Cohen. “His extradition to the United States is an important step forward in holding him accountable for his alleged role in fomenting terror across Europe and the Middle East. Demirtas is one of four defendants currently pending trial on international terrorism charges in separate cases in the federal court here in our nation’s capital. These cases highlight our resolve to find and bring to justice those who support terror around the world.”
“Demirtas was arrested and extradited to face justice in the U.S. because of his role as the European-based fundraiser and recruiter for a designated terrorist organization that directly worked against U.S. forces and our allies,” said Assistant Director in Charge McCabe. “On a daily basis, the FBI is faced with investigating complex cases that involve terrorist threats. Through international partnerships, the FBI will continue to pursue those who provide support to terrorist groups who threaten the security of our nation’s equities around the globe.”
On Dec. 8, 2011, Demirtas was charged in a sealed four-count indictment for conduct occurring from at least January 2006 through May 2008. Specifically, he was charged with providing material support to terrorists, which carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison; providing material support and resources to a designated foreign terrorist organization, which carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison; receiving military-type training from a foreign terrorist organization, which carries a 10-year prison sentence; and using or carrying a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence, which carries up to a mandatory 30-year prison sentence.
During the charged conduct, the IMU was a militant Islamic group acting as an armed insurgency against the legitimate government of Afghanistan and its allies, including the armed forces of the United States. The IMU was designated by the U.S. Department of State as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on Sept. 25, 2001. During the conduct charged in the indictment, Demirtas was a resident of the Netherlands. He was appointed by the IMU as its European-based fundraiser. He was responsible for raising funds and recruiting fighters for the IMU. His activities allegedly took place in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Turkey, Jordan, the Netherlands, France and elsewhere outside the United States.
In January 2015, Demirtas was arrested in Germany based on a red notice that had been issued on these charges. He was detained and then extradited to the United States on July 17, 2015. The indictment was unsealed today.
An indictment is merely a formal allegation that a defendant has committed a violation of criminal laws and every defendant is presumed innocent until, and unless, proven guilty.
The case is being investigated by the FBI’s Washington Field Office and is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the District of Columbia and the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section.