WASHINGTON: An alleged fundraiser for a violent extremist group that supports the so-called Islamic State faced terrorism charges in US court Monday.
Irfan Demirtas, also known as Nasrullah, was arrested in January and extradited from Germany on Friday. He faces up to 70 years in prison on four separate charges.
According to a December 2011 US federal indictment that had been previously sealed, Dutch-Turkish national Demirtas served as the European-based fundraiser for the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan while living in the Netherlands.
Formed in the 1990s for the purpose of overthrowing the government of that Central Asian nation and replacing it with an Islamic state, the IMU has been mainly based in Pakistan’s tribal region since the US-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001.
The group backs Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State.
FBI Assistant Director in Charge Andrew McCabe stressed that the IMU is a “designated terrorist organization that directly worked against US forces and our allies.”
Demirtas was said to have been responsible for recruiting fighters for the IMU as well, with his activities taking place in Afghanistan, France, Jordan, the Netherlands, Pakistan and Turkey, among others.
He was arrested in Germany in January.
The four-count indictment charges him with providing material support to terrorists, providing material support and resources to a designated foreign terror group, receiving military training from such an organization and using or carrying a firearm during or linked to a violent crime.
The charges are associated with conduct that took place between January 2006 and May 2008.
“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,” said Acting US Attorney Vincent Cohen.