Malik Jones, an American jihadist who was captured as he fled al-Shabaab’s purge of ISIS supporters, has been flown from Somalia to the United States and may face trial in New York, according to a local NBC affiliate.
WNBC investigative reporter and ex-FBI agent Joe Valiquette and Jonathan Dienst revealed the initial details late Monday:
A Maryland man who allegedly traveled overseas to fight alongside terrorists has been flown back to New York to face terror charges.
NBC New York has learned that a man known as Malik Jones — but who also has several aliases — could appear in a New York courtroom as early as Monday afternoon.
He was taken into custody late last year in [Somalia] and was flown to the U.S. in December, sources said.
After Jones’ capture, he initially told Reuters, “If possible I would like to return my home in Maryland,” but it is likely he will face terror charges in New York instead.
According to the criminal complaint filed in the case, Jones waive his Miranda rights as FBI authorities questioned him in the presence of Somali authorities.
Other interesting details from court documents include the following:
- In 2011, Jones travelled through Morocco, UAE, and Kenya on his way to join al-Shabaab.
- Jones was part of the Jaysh Ayman unit and was paid $100 per month.
- He was caught by Somali authorities while trying to procure a boat from Barawe to Yemen.
In a State Department press briefing last December, spokesperson John Kirby highlighted Somalia and the Unites States did not have an extradition agreement and that talks were still ongoing with the Somali government regarding how the department would handle captured jihadists with American passports.
Jones’ transfer to U.S. soil appears to show American authorities have found a legal mechanism to extradite an American terror suspect such as Jones despite the lack of a proper treaty.
One possibility is that Jones agreed to go to the U.S. “on his own will” under a deal with American law enforcement rather than remain with Somali authorities where his future could take many unknown turns. An extradition treaty may not have been needed in this type of scenario.
Mujahid Miski, another prominent pro-ISIS member of al-Shabaab who also fell into custody of the Somali government late last year, was only a “legal resident” in Minnesota — not an American citizen. As a result, he may be shielded from a similar fate as Jones.
If Jones does indeed face trial in the U.S., it could put American passport holders in al-Shabaab — especially those who support ISIS — on notice: either face death by al-Shabaab or trial in U.S. courts.