By JOSEPH G. LARIOSA
MANILA (JGL) – The elder brother of Zulkilfi Abdhir a.k.a. “Marwan” is going to be released from United States federal prisons on Monday, April 18, according to records obtained by this reporter.
Rahmat Abdhir, 52, is going to be released from Sacramento, California RRM (Residential Reentry Management) field office.
A naturalized U.S. citizen, Rahmat was sentenced by Judge Jeremy Fogel of the U.S. District Court in Northern California on Aug. 26, 2010 to 120 months (10 years) to federal prisons, three years’ supervised release and $100 special assessment fee after pleading guilty to a single count of conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists and dismissed the rest of the indictments returned by a grand jury on Aug. 1, 2007.
Rahmat is the brother of Marwan. He pleaded guilty to one count of indictment conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists in the offense ending Aug. 31, 2007. While Marwan was indicted on August 1, 2007 with providing material support to terrorists, conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists, contributing goods and services to a specially designated global terrorist, and making false statement.
The DNA samples taken from Rahmat must have matched with Marwan, whose thumb was reportedly cut off by Philippine police Special Action Forces (SAF) after a shootout to confirm Marwan’s identity. Collection of DNA samples forms part of convicted inmate’s records in the U.S..
The brothers were initially indicted of Counts One and Two for conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists and Counts Three to Fifteen for contributing goods and services to a Specially Designated Global Terrorist; and Count Sixteen for material false statements.
They were indicted based on their exchanges of email messages that tipped off the FBI on the conspiracy they were working on.
In one of their email exchanges, Marwan wanted Rahmat to send him “accessories for firearms, backpacks, Insignia two-way radios, knives and publications about firearms” to the Philippines, using such codes as “iron” for firearms, “dogs” for government agents and “prizes and presents” for bombs or IEDs (improvised explosive devices).
On March 28, 2007, Marwan sent Rahmat an email with subject line stating “Re 50” which included a news article reporting that the U.S. government had just offered a $5-M reward for information leading to his (Marwan’s) capture.
In the article, Marwan was identified by the name “Zulkilfi bin Hir” and his alias “Marwan.”
SENIOR LEADER OF SEA TERRORIST GROUPS
Marwan, 49, was further identified as “a senior leader in several Southeast Asian terrorist groups tied to al-Qaida,” adding, “Bin Hir, 40, is thought to run the Kumpulun Mujahidin Malaysia organization and a member of the central command of Jemaah Islamiyah, the al-Qaida affiliate blamed for numerous attacks, including the 2002 Bali nightclub bombings in Indonesia.
Marwan is also thought to have conducted explosives training for the al-Qaida-linked Abu Sayyaf Group, a militant group based in the Philippines where Bin Hir is believed to have lived since August 2003. His younger brother is now jailed in Indonesia for involvement in a 2001 bombing of a Jakarta mall, said the statement. Bin Hir has long been sought by Philippine authorities and last August, two Filipino police officers were killed in a clash while trying to approach his suspected hideout about 560 miles southeast of Manila.”
The Marwan and Rahmat were accused of knowingly and unlawfully providing material support and resources, as that term is defined in 18 U.S.C Sec. 2339A(b), and conceal and disguise the nature, location, source, and ownership of material support and resources, knowing and intending that they were to be used in preparation for and in carrying out a violation or violations of Title 18, USC, Sec. 956 (conspiracy to kill, kidnap, maim and injure persons and to damage and destroy property in a foreign country), all in violation of Title 18, U.S.C, Sec. 23339A.
Reached for comment, Rahmat appealed to this reporter not to publicize his release and his photo he himself voluntarily and carelessly posted online, as it will jeopardize his search for a job when he leaves prison.
Marwan was the subject of a manhunt by commandos of the Special Action Force of the Philippine National Police, who raided his lair in Mamasapano, Maguindanao and shot and killed him after a brief firefight last Jan. 25 2015.
Marwan carried a US$5-million bounty on his head, courtesy of the U.S. State Department’s Rewards for Justice (RFJ).
44 SAF MEN DIED TO CAPTURE HIM
The firefight, however, alerted members of the Moro National Liberation Force (MILF) and MILF’s breakaway group, Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), who were not informed in advance of the operation codenamed, “Operation Exodus.” The firefight resulted in the death of 44 SAF men, 17 BIFF and five civilians. BIFF, however, claimed that only four of their men were killed in the firefight, not 17.
Zulkifli or Marwan was either born on Jan. 5, 1966 or Oct. 5, 1966 in Muar, Johor, Malaysia. He speaks Malaysian, English, Tagalog and Arabic. He was an engineer trained in the U.S. He is thought to be the head of Kumpulun Mujahidin Malaysia (KMM) terrorist organization and a member of Jemaah Islamiyah’s (JI) central command. He trained bomb making for terrorist organizations, including Abu Sayyaf Group.
Had Rahmat gone into trial, he would have faced 15 years in prison and $250,000 fine if he were convicted of Counts One and Two (conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists); 20 years in prison and $50,000 fine for Counts Three to 15 for contributing goods and services to a Specially Designated Global Terrorist; and eight years imprisonment and $250,000 fine for Count 16 for material false statements when he used different sender and recipient names in sending the packages of terrorism materials to Marwan from San Jose, California to the Philippines.
Because Rahmat is “not considered a threat the United States,” Fogel said, Rahmat “should be housed accordingly” and be “remanded to the Custody of the U.S. Marshal” and his “appearance bond is hereby exonerated.”
Since Rahmat could not be deported because he is a U.S. naturalized citizen, Fogel also sentenced Rahmat to a “three-year supervised release and must report to the probation office in the district to which defendant is released within 72 hours of release from the custody of the Bureau of Prisons.”
Rahmat was also ordered to “not unlawfully possess a controlled substance” and “shall submit to one drug test within 15 days of release from imprisonment and two periodic drug tests.”
However, the “drug testing condition is suspended based on the court’s determination that the defendant poses a low risk of future substance abuse” and the “defendant shall not possess a firearm, ammunition, destructive device, or any other dangerous weapon.”
Zulkifli and Rahmat were charged with a 9/11 inspired International Emergency Economic Powers Act, 50 U.S.C. Sections 1701-1706 (IEEPA), upon declaration of a national emergency with respect to “any unusual and extraordinary threat … to the national security, foreign policy or economy of the United States.” Under this law, the President of the U.S. has authority to “investigate, regulate, or prohibit” transactions involving “any property in which any foreign country or a national thereof has any interest by any person, or with respect to any property, subject to the jurisdiction of the United States.” (50 U.S.C Sections 1701-1702).
On Sept. 23, 2001, President George W. Bush, based on IEEPA, issued Executive Order No. 13224, entitled “Blocking Property and Prohibiting Transactions with Persons Who Commit, Threaten to Commit or Support Terrorism” to address “the terrorist attacks in New York, Pennsylvania and the Pentagon committed on Sept. 11, 2001” and “the continuing and immediate threat of further attacks on U.S. nationals or the United States.”