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Taliban fighter on trial in Richmond sentenced to life in prison

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RICHMOND, Va. — Convicted terrorist Irek Hamidullin, 55, was sentenced to life plus 30 years in prison for conspiring to shoot down American helicopters and to kill U.S. and Afghan soldiers, and several other charges relating to an attack he led in Afghanistan in November 2009.

Hamidullin’s trial took place at the Federal Courthouse in downtown Richmond. This was the first time a military detainee from Afghanistan has been brought to the U.S. for trial.

On Aug 7, Hamidullin was convicted by a federal jury of all 15 charges including, material support to terrorists, attempted murder of U.S. military personnel,  and conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction.

“The sentence imposed today on the defendant Hamidullin for masterminding an attack on U.S. military personnel in Afghanistan serves as a reminder of the global reach and determination of the FBI to exact justice through the American legal system,” said Paul M. Abbate, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office in a press release.

“The FBI, together with our partners in the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the U.S. Department of Defense, will continue to relentlessly pursue any person who commits acts of terrorism or supports terrorist organizations targeting American troops, citizens, or interests,” said  Abbate.

According to court documents Hamidullin, a Russian national and former Russian army tank commander, had contact with high-level Taliban and Haqqani Network personnel.

“Irek Hamidullin coordinated with members of the Taliban and the Haqqani Network, a designated foreign terrorist organization, to orchestrate and conduct a violent attack on Afghan and U.S. forces in Afghanistan in 2009,” said Assistant Attorney General Carlin.