Pro-Palestinian demonstrators march in the streets of mid-town St. Louis on Nov. 12. The Department of Justice said Monday a Utah man has been charged with making death treats to a Palestinian advocacy group in Washington, D.C. File Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI | License Photo
Nov. 20 (UPI) -- A Utah man has been arrested and charged with making repeated death threats against a Palestinian rights organization, the Department of Justice announced Monday.
Kevin Brent Buchanan, of Tooele, Utah, was charged on Friday with transmitting a threat to injure another person via interstate commerce, federal prosecutors said in a release.
Officials alleged Buchanan called the unnamed organization and left at least five voice messages stating, in part, "You're the enemy," "You're being catalogued," "You're gonna die" and "You're dead people walking."
According to an affidavit filed by the FBI in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., the Palestinian rights organization in question is located in that city.
Investigators alleged Buchanan left a voice message stating, "Don't think we're not watching you. We know who you are, who your families are," and adding, "You're being photographed. We're gonna know who your families are. We're gonna know where you live. You're gonna be tracked."
Other messages followed, including one in which the caller allegedly said, "This is a war against Islam," and, "You're not Americans. You're traitors."
The FBI said the organization receiving the threats had planned a public demonstration in Washington on Nov. 4 to advocate for Palestinian rights.
Authorities said Buchanan was identified after reviewing phone records provided by Verizon and TracPhone Wireless to place the purchase of the mobile phone used in the calls to a Walmart store in Tooele, then further accessing the store's records and credit card receipts.
If convicted, Buchanan faces a maximum of five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.
The case comes as the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the nation's largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, released data showing an "unprecedented" increase in complaints of anti-Muslim or anti-Arab bias since the start of the Israeli-Hamas war in Gaza on Oct. 7.
In the four-week period after Oct. 7, CAIR's national headquarters and chapters said they have received nearly 1,300 requests for help and reports of bias -- a 216% increase over the previous year, coming from public school and college students, doctors and other workers, protestors, mosques and others.
One of the highest-profile cases came last month when an Illinois landlord was charged with a hate crime in the brutal stabbing death of a 6-year-old boy and the wounding of his mother over their Muslim faith.