Asher Abid Khan

Asher Abid Khan is a U.S. citizen from Texas and an alleged would-be foreign fighter for ISIS.Kevin Johnson, “Texas man charged with supporting ISIL,” USA Today, May 26, 2015, http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2015/05/26/texas-suspect-isil/27961367/. FBI agents arrested Khan on March 26, 2015.Lindsay Dunsmuir, “U.S. man charged with conspiracy to provide support to Islamic State,” Reuters, May 26, 2015, http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/05/26/us-usa-security-islamicstate-idUSKBN0OB20220150526. Khan was charged with attempting to provide material support to the foreign terrorist organization by assisting a friend’s travel to Syria and attempting to join the group himself.Kevin Johnson, “Texas man charged with supporting ISIL,” USA Today, May 26, 2015, http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2015/05/26/texas-suspect-isil/27961367/.

In January and February of 2014, Khan and his friend, Sixto Ramiro Garcia allegedly planned to travel to Syria to join ISIS.“Criminal Complaint,” United States District Court, Southern District of Texas, May 25, 2015, http://www.justice.gov/file/441346/download. Mohamed Zuhbi, a Turkish-based Australian foreign fighter facilitator, allegedly assisted Khan and Sixto Ramiro Garcia with their logistics via Facebook.“Aust IS recruiter threat to US, court told,” 9News, April 16, 2016, http://www.9news.com.au/world/2016/04/16/13/45/aust-is-recruiter-threat-to-us-court-told;
“Criminal Complaint,” United States District Court, Southern District of Texas, May 25, 2015, http://www.justice.gov/file/441346/download.

Khan was allegedly determined to reach Syria and fight for ISIS. According to the criminal complaint, he told an unnamed acquaintance, “I wanna die as a Shaheed [martyr].”“Criminal Complaint,” United States District Court, Southern District of Texas, May 25, 2015, http://www.justice.gov/file/441346/download. Although Khan reached Turkey, he allegedly immediately flew to the United States after receiving false information from his family that his mother had been hospitalized.Lindsay Dunsmuir, “U.S. man charged with conspiracy to provide support to Islamic State,” Reuters, May 26, 2015, http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/05/26/us-usa-security-islamicstate-idUSKBN0OB20220150526. Zuhbi has since been charged with terrorism offences by the U.S., despite never setting foot in the country. His case is at the center of a constitutional battle as prosecutors argue his recruitment of Khan and Garcia, both U.S. citizens, poses a threat to the country. According to prosecutors, Zuhbi is believed to be living “somewhere along the border of Turkey and Syria.”“Aust IS recruiter threat to US, court told,” 9News, April 16, 2016, http://www.9news.com.au/world/2016/04/16/13/45/aust-is-recruiter-threat-to-us-court-told. He pleaded guilty in December 2017, and was sentenced to 18 months in prison.“United States of America v. Asher Abid Khan,” U.S. District Court – Southern District of Texas Houston Division, June 25, 2018, https://extremism.gwu.edu/sites/g/files/zaxdzs2191/f/Khan%20Sentencing%20Transcript.pdf, 39. Khan was released in November 2019.“ASHER ABID KHAN,” Find an Inmate – Federal Bureau of Prisons, accessed March 17, 2021, https://www.bop.gov/inmateloc/.

Asher Abid Khan was bailed out of jail in early October 2015 and was on strict release, a rigid form of house arrest. He was required to keep meticulous records of his comings and goings, had restricted access to the outside world, and was prohibited from using the internet or possessing a smart phone.Cindy George, “Spring man accused of terrorism on strict release,” Houston Chronicle, November 23, 2015, http://www.houstonchronicle.com/houston/article/Spring-man-accused-of-terrorism-on-strict-release-6651269.php.

On December 4, 2017, Khan pleaded guilty to providing material support to ISIS,“Texas Resident Pleads Guilty to Providing Material Support to ISIS,” U.S. Department of Justice – Office of Public Affairs, December 4, 2017, https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/texas-resident-pleads-guilty-providing-material-support-isis. and on June 25, 2018, he was sentenced to 18 months in prison followed by three years of post-release supervision.“United States of America v. Asher Abid Khan,” U.S. District Court – Southern District of Texas Houston Division, June 25, 2018, https://extremism.gwu.edu/sites/g/files/zaxdzs2191/f/Khan%20Sentencing%20Transcript.pdf, 39. At sentencing, the judge noted Khan’s prior naivete, his subsequent regret, and his efforts to make amends, and sentenced him to less than the prosecutors’ recommendation of 20 years in prison and a lifetime of post release supervision.“United States of America v. Asher Abid Khan,” U.S. District Court – Southern District of Texas Houston Division, June 25, 2018, https://extremism.gwu.edu/sites/g/files/zaxdzs2191/f/Khan%20Sentencing%20Transcript.pdf, 39; Gabrielle Banks, “UH Engineering Student Who Tried to Join ISIS in Syria Sentenced to 18 Months in Federal Prison,” Houston Chronicle,  June 25, 2018, https://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/UH-engineering-student-who-tried-to-join-ISIS-in-13023885.php. Khan was released from prison on November 26, 2019.“ASHER ABID KHAN,” Find an Inmate – Federal Bureau of Prisons, accessed March 17, 2021, https://www.bop.gov/inmateloc/.

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