A jury in U.S. District Court in Bridgeport found Sidikjon Mamadjonov, 36, a citizen of Uzbekistan and lawful permanent U.S. resident since 2010, guilty of making multiple false statements to federal law enforcement and immigration authorities in an effort to conceal the reasons for his travel to Turkey in 2013.
Federal prosecutors argued during the week-long trial that the travel by Mamadjonov, who’s brother died fighting in Syria, was for terror-related purposes, but the the jury returned not guilty verdicts on three terror charges that would have resulted in a longer sentence. He faces up to 25 years in prison for the false statement convictions.
Prosecutors presented evidence that Mamadjonov flew from the U.S. to Istanbul in May 2013 — on a one-way ticket — and he learned at about that time of his brother Saidjon’s death. He told customs officers he was on a sightseeing vacation. He returned a month later and not long after received an overseas package containing a cellphone.
A cooperating witness who had been convicted of a terror-related crime in New York, told the FBI that Mamadjonov disclosed to associates attending a birthday party at his home that there was a different reason for the travel and that he did not intend initially to return to the U.S.
During the party, the witness said, Mamadjonov displayed to guests videos and photographs on the telephone that showed his brother on a rooftop with gun fire in the distance, saying “We are here;” a video showing his brother training with others, and finally, a video showing his brother’s body after he had been killed. According to the witness, Mamadjonov said he returned to the U.S. on instructions from an emir, or commander, in order to continue to run his automotive business and send money to Syria.
Prosecutors said Mamadjonov later was involved in trying to raise money to buy an ambulance for the emir and had admitted sending money overseas to ISIS.
During multiple interviews with the FBI, Mamadjonov said his brother was alive and living in Turkey or Dubai, that he met with his brother while he was in Turkey in 2013, and that his brother sent him a cell phone.
He also told the FBI said he not overheard any discussions about Uzbeks in the U.S. going to Syria to fight, and was not aware of any Uzbeks travelling to Syria. At that time, he knew his brother was a Uzbek who had traveled from the U.S. to Syria and had died while fighting in the civil war, and that he died prior to the date the package was sent.
The jury found Mamadjonov guilty of three counts of making a false statement to law enforcement, and one count of making a false swearing in an immigration matter.
He was arrested on Dec. 22, 2017 and is free on a $200,000 bond and living in Pennsylvania while awaiting sentencing.