Jailed six years, man arrested at O'Hare convicted in terror case

CHICAGO (WLS) -- An Uzbekistan refugee who wanted to die as a martyr in a holy war, will instead spend years in a U.S. prison for aiding terrorists.

Jamshid Muhtorov was arrested at Chicago O'Hare Airport on January 21, 2012 as he tried to board a plane to Turkey after having pledged allegiance to the Islamic Jihad Union.

Muhtorov was found guilty of three terrorism counts by a federal jury in Denver where he had been living. His federal case was in the weeds for years as U.S. prosecutors and defense attorneys clashed over issues ranging from confidential FBI security tactics to warrantless eavesdropping. His trial ended last week. Sentencing is scheduled for August 30.

Federal investigators say Muhtorov had sworn allegiance to the Jihad Union and prayed he would die a glorious death as a martyr in an overseas holy war.

When Muhtorov was arrested by FBI agents in Chicago he was carrying $2,865 and recently purchased electronic equipment - including two iPhones, a GPS device and an iPad tablet - intended for delivery to terrorist operatives. They say he was planning to work as a terrorist propaganda expert.

According to prosecutors, Muhtorov told co-defendant and fellow Uzbekistan refugee Bakhityor Jumaev in a phone conversation recorded by the FBI. "We'll raise the banner of jihad with a weapon in one hand and a Koran in the other."

Jumaev was convicted in late April on two terror-related counts, including providing aid to the IJU.

Muhtorov claimed at trial that he was living a fantasy similar to dreaming of being in a cavalry charge with swords flashing while riding along-side Lawrence of Arabia. His claim of joining the IJU was a tale he concocted while driving as a commercial truck driver 18 hours a day, defense attorneys said.

As the I-Team reported in 2016, Muhtorov claimed national security officials had gone wild on his case and that government agents used dirty tricks to entrap him.

After his arrest at O'Hare, the FBI raided his apartment in Denver where he lived with his wife and their child and seized evidence that authorities claim showed he was a terrorist in waiting.

The Uzbeki native claimed federal investigators used spy tactics to collect evidence against him and demanded prosecutors turn over a complete description of how they built the terrorism case.

One piece of this disputed evidence that authorities ended up using at trial was something he said to his daughter over the phone, "that he would never see her again" but that "if she were a good Muslim, he will see her again in heaven."
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