Brooklyn man who became ISIS sniper and trainer convicted in federal trial
A turncoat terrorist from Brooklyn who abandoned the U.S. and his family to go overseas and wage war against America was convicted Tuesday of providing material support for ISIS and giving weapons training to its devotees.
Ruslan Asainov abruptly pulled up roots in the U.S. in 2013 and made his way to Syria to become a “warrior, sniper and sniper trainer” for the jihadi organization.
A federal jury in Brooklyn found Asainov, a U.S. citizen, guilty on five counts charging him with helping ISIS, training its foot soldiers and obstructing justice.
“As proven at trial, Asainov was a member of ISIS, a violent foreign terrorist organization, which has committed numerous acts resulting in the deaths of many U.S. citizens and others,” said United States Attorney Breon Peace.
“The defendant committed to the terrorist organization’s evil cause and made an extraordinary journey to the battlefield in Syria, where he became a lethal sniper for ISIS and trained many other ISIS members to kill,” Peace said.
“Even after being captured, he still pledged his allegiance to ISIS. Today’s verdict in an American courtroom is a victory for our system of justice, and against ISIS and those like the defendant who are committed to murdering innocent people here in the United States and abroad.”
Asainov, 46, was convicted in a trial that lasted two weeks. Among the witnesses against him was the wife he left behind in Bay Ridge who said her estranged husband had sent her pictures of dead soldiers and photos of himself in camouflage holding an assault rifle to show his commitment to the terrorist cause.
He also left behind a young daughter.
Prosecutors said Asainov converted to Islam in 2009 and subsequently became increasingly interested in Islamic extremism.
By the fall of 2013, he was consuming radical Islamic content online, according to court documents. He abruptly dropped out of classes at the Borough of Manhattan Community College in September 2013, and began preparing to travel to Syria to wage violent jihad.
Over the course of five years of fighting on behalf of ISIS, Asainov participated in numerous battles against ISIS enemies, including engagements at Kobani, Tabqa, Raqqa, Dayr Az Zawr and ISIS’s last stand in Syria at Baghouz, in March 2019, where he was captured, near the Syria-Iraq border.
Just before his capture, Asainov discarded his rifle and destroyed his cell phone.
Asainov faces up to life in prison.