NEW YORK—Today, a federal grand jury in Brooklyn, N.Y., returned an indictment charging Faruq Khalil Muhammad ‘Isa, 38, aka “Faruk Khalil Muhammad ‘Isa,” “Sayfildin Tahir Sharif” and “Tahir Sharif Sayfildin,” with aiding in the murder of five American soldiers in a suicide-bomb attack in Iraq in April 2009.
Specifically, he is charged with the murders of Staff Sergeant Gary L. Woods, 24, of Lebanon Junction, Ky.; Sergeant First Class Bryan E. Hall, 32, of Elk Grove, Calif.; Sergeant Edward W. Forrest Jr., 25, of St. Louis; Corporal Jason G. Pautsch, 20, of Davenport, Iowa; and Army Private First Class Bryce E. Gaultier, 22, from Cyprus, Calif.
The indictment also charges the defendant with conspiring to kill Americans abroad and providing material support to that terrorist conspiracy to kill Americans abroad.
In January 2011, the defendant was arrested and detained in Canada after he was charged by a federal complaint in the Eastern District of New York. The United States is seeking the defendant’s extradition from Canada in relation to the federal complaint in the Eastern District of New York. He remains in custody, and the defendant’s extradition hearing in Canada is currently scheduled for Jan. 30 to Feb. 1, 2012.
The charges were announced by Loretta E. Lynch, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York; Lisa Monaco, Assistant Attorney General for National Security; and Janice K. Fedarcyk, Assistant Director in Charge of the New York Field Office of the FBI.
The government’s investigation is being conducted by the FBI New York Joint Terrorism Task Force, with assistance provided by the Department of Defense, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the government of Tunisia.
If convicted, the defendant faces a maximum sentence of life in prison.
The government’s case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Zainab Ahmad, Carter H. Burwell and Berit W. Berger, with assistance provided by Mary Futcher and Stephen Ponticiello of the Counterterrorism Section in the Department of Justice’s National Security Division. The Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs also provided assistance in this matter.
The charges in the indictment are merely allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.