Iraqi man in Syracuse accused of lying about membership in Iran-backed militia

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Syracuse, NY – Syracuse Iraqi man faces at least five years in prison for allegedly lying to immigration officials about his association with an Iran-backed militia as part of his green card application here, according to the United States attorney. Office.

Chasib Hafedh Saadoon Al Fawadi, 35, has been in the United States since around early 2016 after applying for refugee status while in Turkey. He claimed he and his family were persecuted in Iraq for refusing to help Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq, a Shiite militia, kidnap Sunni Muslims, according to a federal indictment.

Al Fawadi has been living in Syracuse since January 2016. While here, he was the subject of additional reviews and interviews with officials from the US Citizenship and Immigration Service.

In his citizenship application, Al Fawadi said he had no association with the Iranian-backed militia. He also said he had never traveled outside of Iraq and Turkey, when in fact he had visited Iran, Syria and Jordan, according to the indictment.

Prosecutors allege that Al Fawadi claimed he had never been a member of the militia in the application forms and in two subsequent interviews while he was here. But investigators allege that he actually provided “material support” to the militias, in addition to receiving military and weapons training from them.

Lying on application forms and during interviews is a federal crime. The eight-page indictment filed in federal court yesterday does not explain how investigators determined he was involved with the militia group and lied in his claim.

The militia, which is translated as “League of the Righteous,” is one of the main militias operating in Iraq to advance Iran’s interests, according to the Stanford University Center for International Security and Cooperation. It has been around since 2006.

Since then, he has carried out thousands of attacks on American and Iraqi forces, including rocket attacks on the United States Embassy, ​​and carried out kidnappings of Westerners, according to the Institute for the Study of War, a defense think tank.

If convicted, Al Fawadi faces up to five years in prison for each misrepresentation charge, plus three years of probation and a fine of up to $ 250,000.

Contact reporter Patrick Lohmann at (315) 766-6670 or [email protected]

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