Former US Air man convicted of attempting to join DAESH

US Air Force veteran Tairod Pugh found guilty of trying to travel to Syria to join DAESH terrorist organisation

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Tairod Nathan Webster Pugh, one of the first US defendants to face trial for supporting DAESH, is shown in this government exhibit image provided by the US Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of New York.

A New York federal court jury convicted former Air Force veteran Tairod Pugh on Wednesday for attempting to travel to Syria to join terrorist organisation DAESH, his lawyer said.

According to the Brooklyn federal court, 48 year old former veteran attempted to travel to Syria after his trial began on February 29 and destroyed four portable electronic storage devices after he was detained by Turkish officials at an Istanbul airport, he was sent back to the United States after he was questioned.

DAESH propaganda videos, search history on border crossings into Syria and a letter to his wife that expressed his intention to join DAESH were found on Pugh’s laptop and were presented as evidence by prosecutors.

The jury also saw evidence of Pugh’s social media posts alleging his support for the terrorist group as well as statements he has made to co-workers.

US courts have charged dozens of Americans for attempting to join the terrorist group in Iraq and Syria or plotting attacks in the country since 2014. However, this case is the first conviction in more than 75 DAESH related prosecutions by the US Department of Justice.

Pugh’s lawyer Eric Creizman said they were disappointed with the verdict as they put in a great effort to defend Pugh.

“But jury appeared to be fair and genuinely concerned about reaching the correct verdict as they saw it.” he added and stated that Pugh will be sentenced in September. He faces maximum 35 years in prison.

Pugh’s defence lawyers have said that he only travelled to Turkey to find work and he did no wrong by expressing his views about DAESH on Facebook and watching the group's propaganda videos.

But the authorities also discovered a black facemask and a map showing DAESH’s Syria strongholds.

Prosecutors said, Pugh worked as an army contractor in Iraq from 2009 to 2010 and previously served as avionics specialist in the US Air Force for four years.

TRTWorld and agencies