Friday, June 21, 2013

Terrorism: US citizen charged with providing support to al Qaeda-affiliated group in Syria.

U.S. Attorney’s Office 
Eastern District of Virginia

ALEXANDRIA, VA—Eric Harroun, 30, of Phoenix, Arizona, was indicted by a federal grand jury today on two charges related to his alleged fighting alongside an al Qaeda-affiliated terrorist group in Syria.
Neil H. MacBride, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Valerie Parlave, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, made the announcement.
Harroun, a U.S. citizen who served with the U.S. Army from 2000 to 2003, was indicted on the following charges:
  • Conspiracy to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization
  • Conspiracy to use destructive devices overseas
The maximum punishment for conspiring to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization, as alleged in this particular indictment, is 15 years in prison. The second count, conspiracy to use destructive devices overseas, carries a maximum punishment of life in prison.

The indictment alleges that Harroun fought with Jabhat al Nusrah (al Nusrah), a designated foreign terrorist organization. Al Nusrah is one of several aliases used by the “al Qaeda in Iraq” terrorist organization, and since November 2011, the group has claimed responsibility for nearly 600 terrorist attacks in Syria.
According to court documents, Harroun allegedly crossed into Syria in January 2013 and fought with members of al Nusrah against the Bashar al Assad regime in Syria. The documents allege that Harroun participated in attacks with al Nusrah and carried and used various firearms, including a sniper rifle, an AK-47 style machine gun, and a rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) weapon.

This case is being investigated by the FBI’s Washington Field Office. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Carter Burwell and Lynn Haaland are prosecuting the case on behalf of the United States, with assistance from the Justice Department’s National Security Division.

Criminal indictments are only charges and not evidence of guilt. A defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty.