Castor Gardens man arrested for alleged affiliation with terrorist group

Federal authorities last week arrested a Castor Gardens resident on charges he lied to immigration officials when he entered the United States by neglecting to mention he was affiliated with an extremist terrorist group.

Hayatullah Dawari, 62, described as a permanent legal resident of the United States, was taken into custody Aug. 6, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Philadelphia office.

WPVI broadcast a report that Dawari lived on the 7200 block of Calvert Street.

According to the U.S. Attorney, “Dawari is an Afghanistan citizen with alleged ties to Hezb-e-Islami Gulbuddin (“HIG”), an anti-western insurgent group active in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Its stated mission includes forcing the west out of Afghanistan, overthrowing the Afghan government, and establishing a fundamentalist Islamic state. It has long-established ties with al-Qaida, and it has served as an associated force of al-Qaida in hostilities against the United States and its coalition partners.”

The U.S. Attorney said Dawari lied about his associations on his November 2013 application for U.S. citizenship.

On that application, federal authorities stated, “Dawari responded ‘No’ to question 8a: ‘Have you ever been a member of or associated with any organization, association, fund, foundation, party, club, society, or similar group in the United States or in any other place?’”

Dawari, who is being held in an undisclosed location, faces a maximum possible sentence of 20 years in prison, a fine of up to $500,000, a $200 special assessment and three years of supervised release.

The case was investigated by Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Joint Terrorism Task Force that included U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations and the Philadelphia Police Department. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jennifer Arbittier Williams. ••