Mohamad Ameen

Mohamad Ameen is a U.S.-designated Maldivian recruiter and leader for ISIS’s Wilayat Khorasan. Ameen has allegedly facilitated the recruitment of many foreign fighters from the Maldives to Syria and Afghanistan. Additionally, Ameen is allegedly connected to the 2007 Sultan Park bombing in Malé—the first terror attack to occur in the Maldives.“Treasury Targets Wide Range of Terrorists and Their Supporters Using Enhanced Counterterrorism Sanctions Authorities,” U.S. Department of the Treasury, September 10, 2019, https://home.treasury.gov/news/press-releases/sm772. Ameen is the first Maldivian to be designated as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist by the United States and is also the first person to be charged under the Maldives’ Anti-Terrorism Laws.Ahmedulla Abdul Hadi, “2 counts of terrorism made against local terror recruiter,” Sun (Maldives), December 6, 2019, https://en.sun.mv/56988.

Maldivian authorities sought to arrest Ameen in connection to the September 29, 2007 bombing in Sultan Park, Malé. The attack resulted in the injury of 12 foreign nationals.Ajay Makan, “Bomb blast wounds 12 tourists in Maldives capital,” Reuters, September 29, 2007, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-maldives-explosion/bomb-blast-wounds-12-tourists-in-maldives-capital-idUSCOL8415420070929. However, Ameen managed to flee the country before an arrest could be made.“Police arrest Maldivian on America's OFAC terrorist list,” Edition, October 24, 2019, https://edition.mv/news/13112. Following his escape, INTERPOL issued a Red Notice for information about Ameen and other suspects connected to the bombing.“Sultan Park bombing suspect arrested in Sri Lanka,” Sun (Maldives), October 15, 2011, https://en.sun.mv/507.

Ameen was arrested by Sri Lankan police on October 15, 2011, when he tried to enter Sri Lanka using a forged passport. At the time of arrest, he had both a Maldivian and Pakistani passport in his possession.Shahudha Mohamed, “Police arrest Maldivian on America's OFAC terrorist list,” The Edition, October 24, 2019, https://edition.mv/news/13112. A few months later, Ameen was transferred to Maldivian custody where a local court ordered his release in May 2012. His release was granted on the condition that “he would neither get involved in any further terrorist activities nor leave the country.”Sathiya Moorthy, “Maldives: Designation brings US terror war closer?” Observer Research Foundation, September 13, 2019, https://www.orfonline.org/expert-speak/maldives-designation-us-terror-war-closer-55422/.

On September 10, 2019, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) listed Ameen as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist.“Treasury Targets Wide Range of Terrorists and Their Supporters Using Enhanced Counterterrorism Sanctions Authorities,” U.S. Department of the Treasury, September 10, 2019, https://home.treasury.gov/news/press-releases/sm772. Ameen allegedly assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support to ISIS and ISIS’s Wilayat Khorasan. ISIS officially formed Wilayat Khorasan in January 2015 after jihadists in Afghanistan and Pakistan pledged allegiance to ISIS in November 2014.“Islamic State moves in on al-Qaeda turf,” BBC News, June 25, 2015, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-31064300. Wilayat Khorasan is based in Afghanistan’s Nangarhar region and its ranks include former members of the Pakistan Taliban, the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, and foreign fighters.“U.S. General Says Taliban Controls 10 Percent Of Afghanistan,” Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty, September 23, 2016, https://www.rferl.org/a/28009576.html.; Merhat Sharipzhan, “IMU Declares It Is Now Part Of The Islamic State,” Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty, August 6, 2015, http://www.rferl.org/content/imu-islamic-state/27174567.html.

As recently as April 2019, Ameen continued to lead ISIS recruitment sessions across the Maldives. Ameen and his subordinates provided up to as many as 10 weekly recruitment sessions across Malé under the guise of Islamic classes. Furthermore, Ameen and his subordinates recruited heavily among Maldivian criminal gangs. The recruits were originally sent to Syria but were later redirected to Afghanistan.“Treasury Targets Wide Range of Terrorists and Their Supporters Using Enhanced Counterterrorism Sanctions Authorities,” U.S. Department of the Treasury, September 10, 2019, https://home.treasury.gov/news/press-releases/sm772.

According to OFAC, Ameen allegedly facilitated the travel of Maldivians to Afghanistan, where he promised recruits that they would join the digital media ranks of ISIS-K. Upon arrival, the recruits would be responsible for translating digital material for him and would receive $700 a month as compensation.“Treasury Targets Wide Range of Terrorists and Their Supporters Using Enhanced Counterterrorism Sanctions Authorities,” U.S. Department of the Treasury, September 10, 2019, https://home.treasury.gov/news/press-releases/sm772.

On October 24, 2019, the Maldives Police Service arrested Ameen over allegations of spreading extremist ideologies in the Indian Ocean archipelago as well as recruiting and directing terrorist fighters abroad.“Maldives police arrest recruiter for Daesh,” Arab News, October 24, 2019, https://www.arabnews.com/node/1573736/world. Additionally, police alleged that Ameen had maintained financial and technological links to senior members of unnamed terrorist groups.Ahmedulla Abdul Hadi, “2 counts of terrorism made against local terror recruiter,” Sun (Maldives), December 6, 2019, https://en.sun.mv/56988. On December 5, 2019, the Maldivian Prosecutor General’s Office submitted two charges of terrorism against Ameen to the Criminal Court. The charges included being a member of a terrorist organization and planning an act of terrorism.Ahmedulla Abdul Hadi, “2 counts of terrorism made against local terror recruiter,” Sun (Maldives), December 6, 2019, https://en.sun.mv/56988.

On February 3, 2021, the Maldives Criminal Court ordered Ameen to be transferred from prison to house arrest. Reportedly, the transfer occurred because the prison was unable to offer him adequate medical treatment and did not give him the opportunity to exercise outside of his cell. The house arrest agreement stipulated that Ameen cannot leave his home or commit another terrorist offense.“First Maldivian on USA's OFAC Terrorist List Mohamed Ameen Allowed House Arrest,” India Blooms News Service, February 9, 2021, https://www.indiablooms.com/world-details/F/27940/first-maldivian-on-usa-s-ofac-terrorist-list-mohamed-ameen-allowed-house-arrest.html; ANI, “First Maldivian on OFAC Terrorist List Allowed House Arrest,” Business World, February 8, 2021, http://www.businessworld.in/article/First-Maldivian-on-OFAC-terrorist-list-allowed-house-arrest/08-02-2021-375293/.

United States

The U.S. Department of the Treasury designated Mohamad Ameen as a Specially Designated National on September 10, 2019.“Executive Order Amending Counter Terrorism Sanctions Authorities; Counter Terrorism Designations and Designations Updates; Iran-related Designation; Syria Designations Updates,” U.S. Department of Treasury, September 10, 2019, https://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/OFAC-Enforcement/Pages/20190910.aspx.

INTERPOL

Following the Sultan Park bombing in September 2007, INTERPOL issued a Red Notice for information about Mohamad Ameen and other suspects connected to the Sultan Park bombing.“Sultan Park bombing suspect arrested in Sri Lanka,” Sun (Maldives), October 15, 2011, https://en.sun.mv/507.

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