A former Russian army officer facing “terrorism” charges for a 2009 attack on US and Afghan forces has made an appearance in a US court, becoming the first foreign detainee to be brought from Afghanistan for trial.
The suspect, Irek Ilgiz Hamidullin, appeared before a federal court in the state of Virginia on Tuesday, the Justice Department said.
US authorities unsealed an indictment charging Hamidullin with 12 counts of “terrorism-related” offenses, including providing material support to armed rebels, attempting to destroy a US forces aircraft and attempted murder of a US national.
He faces up to life in prison if convicted.
Hamidullin, who is around 55 years-old, was captured in 2009 and held for five years before his transfer from Parwan prison near Bagram, Afghanistan.
He allegedly led an attack in 2009 on US forces in the mountainous Khost province of Afghanistan.
The US indictment also accused Hamidullin of commanding three groups of armed fighters in the attack in which he took part. He also planned to shoot down US military helicopters, it said.
US and Afghan forces killed several armed fighters during the assault. Hamidullin fired on US and Afghan personnel as they were assessing battle damage, the indictment said.
Hamidullin had been a Russian officer and tank commander in the early 1980s. He became a follower of Mullah Omar, the leader of the Afghan Taliban, in about 2001, the indictment said.