Oregon man accused of producing ISIS propaganda arrested

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PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A federal indictment has accused an Oregon man of advocating violent jihad in an online Arabic newspaper in support of the terrorist organization ISIS.

Hawazen Sameer Mothafar, 31, was arrested Thursday morning, federal authorities said.

Mothafar pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiracy to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization, providing and attempting to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization, making false statements on an immigration application and making a false statement to a government agency.

Mothafar is accused of editing, producing and distributing ISIS recruiting material and propaganda on the online outlet Al Dura’a al Sunni, also known as Sunni Shield, from 2015 through Nov. 5.

Prosecutors said Mothafar produced stories such as one titled “Effective Stabbing Techniques," in which the outlet described how to “best kill and maim in a knife attack."

The indictment said that Mothafar pledged allegiance to ISIS in February 2019 but had been a supporter since 2014. He edited and produced 32 issues of the Al-Anfal newspaper between November 2017 and March 2019, the government says.

The indictment also accused Mothafar of making false statements on an immigration application in October 2018 and again to federal immigration officials on Aug. 24, when he denied being associated with any foreign terrorist organization, the Oregonian reported.

An Arabic interpreter translated Thursday’s court hearing through a phone hookup with Mothafar, who appeared over video from a U.S. Marshals Service lockup. Mothafar is disabled and uses a wheelchair.

Mothafar's federal public defender, Mark P. Ahlemeyer, did not immediately respond to a request for comment by The Associated Press.

A 20-day trial has been scheduled to begin on Jan. 20 before U.S. District Judge Marco A. Hernandez.