On May 19th, a jury in the United States reached a guilty verdict in the case of a Pennsylvania man accused of numerous offences, including the torture of an Estonian citizen in Iraq's Kurdistan region in 2015. The charges were linked to the establishment of an illicit arms fabrication facility in the area.
Court documents and the evidence presented at trial revealed that Ross Roggio, aged 54 and from Stroudsburg, had Kurdish soldiers abduct and detain the subject at a Kurdish military outpost. Over 39 days, Roggio allegedly used a belt to suffocate the individual, threatened to cut off one of his fingers, and ordered the Kurdish soldiers to physically and mentally abuse the person. The victim was employed at a weapons factory that Roggio was planning to have built-in Kurdistan, Iraq, which was intended to make M4 automatic rifles and Glock 9mm pistols.
Roggio was involved in a weapons factory project that necessitated him teaching others from abroad how to use, build, and manufacture the M4 automatic rifle. Additionally, he unlawfully exported firearm components that were regulated by the Departments of State and Commerce.
On August 23, Roggio is set to receive his sentencing, which could be a maximum of life in prison. The federal district court judge will consider the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other relevant factors when deciding the sentence. Roggio has been convicted of torture, conspiracy to torture, conspiring against the United States, exporting weapons parts and services to Iraq without the Department of State's permission, exporting weapons tools to Iraq without the Department of Commerce's authorization, smuggling goods, wire fraud, and money laundering.
Since the federal torture statute was implemented in 1994, Roggio is the second person to be found guilty of torture.