A federal jury on Friday convicted an American man on charges of torture and conspiracy to commit crimes against the U.S.
Ross Roggio of Stroudsburg, Pa., was convicted on numerous charges that include conspiring to commit an offense against the United States, exporting weapons parts and services to Iraq without the approval of the Department of State, and exporting weapons tools to Iraq without the approval of the Department of Commerce, according to a Department of Justice (DOJ) news release,
In addition, Roggio was convicted on charges of smuggling goods, wire fraud, money laundering and conspiracy to commit torture.
According to court documents, Roggio arranged for Kurdish soldiers to abduct and detain an Estonian citizen at a Kurdish military compound. At the military compound, Roggio used a belt to suffocate the victim, threatened to cut off one of his fingers, and “directed Kurdish soldiers to repeatedly beat, tase, choke, and otherwise physically and mentally abuse the victim over a 39-day period.”
The victim was an employee at a weapons factory that Roggio was developing in the Kurdistan region of Iraq. Roggio’s weapons factory was intended to manufacture M4 automatic rifles and Glock 9mm pistols.
Roggio also used the weapons factory to illegally export firearm parts that were controlled for export by the departments of State and Commerce. Roggio also provided training to foreign persons in the operation, assembly, and manufacturing of the M4 automatic rifle, court documents said.
“Roggio brutally tortured another human being to prevent interference with his illegal activities,” the DOJ’s Criminal Division Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite Jr. said in a statement. “Thanks to the courage of the victim and other witnesses, the hard work of U.S. law enforcement, and the assistance of Estonian authorities, he will now be held accountable for his cruelty.”
Roggio, who was arrested by authorities in February 2022, is the second defendant to be convicted of torture since the federal torture statute went into effect in 1994, according to the news release.
Roggio, 54, is scheduled to be sentenced in August and is facing a maximum life sentence in prison.
Source : The Hill