Virginia Teen Sentenced to Prison in ISIS Case

28 Aug 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Manassas teen sentenced to 11 years in prison for aiding terror group.

The Northern Virginia teenager who ran a prolific, pro-Islamic State Twitter account and helped a young friend join the terrorist group in Syria was sentenced Friday to 11 years and four months in federal prison — a term less than what prosecutors had sought but one that will still put the youth behind bars into his late 20s.A Virginia teenager is set to be sentenced for helping another teen travel to Syria to join the Islamic State and providing other aid to the militant group.

According to court documents, Amin, using the Twitter handle @Amreekiwitness, provided instructions on how to use Bitcoin, a virtual currency, to provide funds to ISIL. Niknejad, who is believed to be in Syria, is charged with conspiring to provide material support to terrorists, conspiring to provide material support to ISIL, and conspiring to kill and injure people abroad. “Today’s sentencing demonstrates that those who use social media as a tool to provide support and resources to ISIL will be identified and prosecuted with no less vigilance than those who travel to take up arms with ISIL,” Dana J. Just minutes before, the youth had read a statement to the judge saying he did not “ask for or expect sympathy” and stood ready to accept whatever punishment was imposed. The FBI, through our Joint Terrorism Task Forces, remains dedicated to protecting the United States against the ongoing violent threat posed by ISIL and their supporters.” Stephan Hudson, chief of the Prince William County police department, said staff members and the school resource officer at Osbourn Park made observations about Amin’s suspicious behavior and turned the information over to authorities. “We greatly appreciate that these observations were observed and reported to the proper authorities proved to be instrumental in the overall investigation in stopping a dangerous network such as ISIL from further infiltrating our community,” Hudson said in a statement. The way they told it, the teen was a prolific, sophisticated Islamic State supporter whose efforts not only bolstered the terrorist group’s online propaganda machine but also sent them a real life fighter who will probably trade his life to advance their nefarious cause.

But by his family’s and defense attorney’s accounts, Amin was little more than a troubled kid who lost himself while seeking acceptance and respect in a sinister, virtual world. Joe Flood, Amin’s defense attorney, painted a far more sympathetic portrait of his client, submitting to the court 20 letters from friends and family members, a psychological assessment and even a letter from the teen in an effort to sway the judge toward leniency.

Already on a quest to learn more about his faith — and upset over alleged atrocities against Muslims in the Middle East — Amin found respect, even reverence among people on the Internet with radical views.

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