life imprisonment in New York ISIS
On October 18, 46-year-old New York resident Ruslan Maratovich Asainov was sentenced to life imprisonment for providing material support to the terrorist organization ISIS. He was also sentenced to an additional 20 years in prison on charges of conspiracy to provide material support to ISIS and obstruction of justice, as well as 10 years for undergoing military training with ISIS.
“Mr. Asainov left his family and country to fight for ISIS and train others to carry out terror,” said Assistant Attorney General Matthew J. Olsen.
Ruslan Asainov moved to the USA from Kazakhstan and lived in New York. In 1998, he received American citizenship.
From December 2013 to March 2019, Asainov provided assistance to the terrorist organization ISIS. He provided her with financial support, personnel resources, training and expert advice. Asainov also received military training from ISIS.
On December 24, 2013, Asainov left his wife and daughter in Brooklyn and boarded a flight to Istanbul, Turkey. From there, he and accomplice Mirsad Kandić traveled to northern Syria in early January 2014 and joined ISIS as a fighter. Kandić was arrested in Sarajevo (Bosnia and Herzegovina) and found guilty of conspiracy to provide material support to ISIS, and he was sentenced to life imprisonment in 2022.
For approximately five years, Asainov fought on the side of ISIS. Asainov was trained in the use of automatic rifles, machine guns and grenade launchers. In mid-2014, he volunteered to undergo sniper training. Over time, Asainov became a sniper instructor, and it is estimated that he trained about 100 people.
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While already in Syria, the defendant tried to recruit another American and invited him to fight on the side of ISIS. He also tried to defraud him of funds to buy a scope for his rifle. The defendant also told his ex-wife that he had fought for ISIS. In a recorded voicemail in January 2015, he described ISIS as “the world’s most brutal terrorist organization that has ever existed.”
Asainov was captured in Syria after the last ISIS battle in Baghuz. Shortly before his arrest, Asainov threw away his rifle and destroyed his mobile phone.
Asainov admitted to FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force agents that he had participated in numerous battles for ISIS as a fighter and sniper, serving in several ISIS combat brigades.
During conversations with his mother from prison, Asainov told her that he followed the orders of Allah when he fought jihad and killed for ISIS, and that he intended to return to waging jihad if released. During the trial, the defendant confirmed to court officials his allegiance to ISIS, declaring that “ISIS will rise again.”