US businessman charged with smuggling military equipment to Syria

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Los Angeles, Aug 3 (IANS) A US federal court has charged a California-based businessman with smuggling military equipment to Syria.

In an indictment on Wednesday, Rasheed Al Jijakli was accused of illegally providing rifle scopes, laser bore sighters used for adjusting sights on firearms as well as radios and bulletproof vests to Syrian fighters, reports Xinhua news agency.

Jijakli, 56, operates a check-cashing company in Orange County.

The indictment does not specify which faction in the Syrian civil war took the equipment illegally exported by Jijakli.

According to an executive order of the Department of Justice issued in 2004, exportation of any American product to Syria except for food and medicine is prohibited.

The indictment alleges that Jijakli, along with three other “co-conspirators” who were all born in the Middle East, bought the tactical equipment from unnamed businesses in California, Arizona, Arkansas and Washington.

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They then flew with the equipment to Turkey and delivered them to rebel fighters in Syria between January 2012 and March 2013. Jijakli has pleaded not guilty.

If convicted of all three charges, Jijakli could face up to 50 years in federal prison.



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