US Army veteran Eric Harroun was arrested after making claims on his Facebook page that he had fought alongside militant groups fighting against the regime of Bashar Al-Assad in Syria. He is being charged by the U.S. District Court in Alexandria with conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction outside the US.
“Harroun, a U.S. citizen who served with the U. S. Army from 2000 to 2003, was charged by criminal complaint with conspiring to use a destructive device outside of the United States, which carries a maximum penalty of life in prison, if convicted,” a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of Virginia said.
“According to an affidavit filed in support of the criminal complaint, Harroun allegedly crossed into Syria in January 2013 and fought with members of the al-Nusrah Front against the Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria,” it added. “The affidavit alleges that Harroun was trained to use an RPG [Rocket Propelled Grenade launcher] by members of the terrorist organization and that he fired an RPG and posted online multiple photographs of himself carrying or posing with RPGs and other military weapons.”
Al-Nusrah is allegedly an alias for the branch of Al Qaeda operating in northern Iraq.
The law used to charge him states, “Any national of the United States who, without lawful authority, uses or threatens, attempts, or conspires to use a weapon of mass destruction outside of the U.S. shall be imprisoned for any term of years or for life, or if death results, may be punished by death.”