The three men have been named as Rafat Amirov, a resident of Iran; Polad Omarov, who resides in both the Czech Republic and Slovenia; and Khalid Mehdiyev, the sole US resident among the indicted.
By Algemeiner Staff
A U.S. federal court unsealed murder-for-hire and money laundering charges against three members of an eastern European criminal organization who allegedly plotted the murder of a US-based Iranian dissident at the behest of the Iranian regime.
The three men have been named as Rafat Amirov, a resident of Iran; Polad Omarov, who resides in both the Czech Republic and Slovenia; and Khalid Mehdiyev, the sole US resident among the indicted, who is based in Yonkers, NY.
Last July, Mehdiyev was apprehended carrying an AK-47-style assault rifle near the Brooklyn home of Masih Alinejad, a prominent critic of the Iranian regime. According to the indictment, Mehdiyev was “about to execute the attack on the victim” when he was arrested.
Alinejad had been targeted “for exercising the rights to which every American citizen is entitled,” US Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement in Friday.
Noting that Alinejad had “publicized the Iranian Government’s human rights abuses; discriminatory treatment of women; suppression of democratic participation and expression; and use of arbitrary imprisonment, torture, and execution,” Garland declared: “We will not tolerate attempts by a foreign power to threaten, silence, or harm Americans. We will stop at nothing to identify, find, and bring to justice those who endanger the safety of the American people.”
Separately, FBI Director Christopher Wray said that the plot to assassinate Alinejad “shows how far Iranian actors are willing to go to silence critics, even attempting to assassinate a U.S. citizen on American soil.”
Added Wray: “We are determined to safeguard the rights of all Americans from the oppressive reach of hostile regimes.”
According to the Justice Department, after Mehdiyev’s initial surveillance of Alinejad’s residence, Amirov and Omarov transferred $30,000 in cash for him to purchase an AK-47-style assault rifle along with two magazines for ammunition and at least 66 rounds. Mehdiyev bragged in electronic communications that he had procured for himself a “war machine.”
The three defendants are facing hefty prison sentences if convicted, with the murder conspiracy charges carrying a maximum term of 10 years and the money laundering charges a maximum of 20.
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