A 20-year-old Pennsylvania man pleaded guilty Monday to trying to help the Islamic State group and to tweeting out a list that identified and targeted people serving in the U.S. military.
Jalil Ibn Ameer Aziz faces the potential of up to 25 years and a $500,000 fine after admitting to a charge of conspiring to provide material support to the Islamic State group and to transmitting a communication containing a threat, both felonies.
Aziz, a natural born American arrested in Harrisburg in December 2015, used about 70 different Twitter accounts and an encrypted mobile messaging application to spread messages from the Islamic State group and to help people trying to travel to territory it controls, said federal counterterrorism prosecutor Robert Sander.
Federal public defender Thomas Thornton said Aziz does not remember all of the messages he was accused of sending or retweeting.
After the hearing, Thornton described his client as ‘a young kid who was tweeting from his bedroom.’
‘He’s very sorry that he ever got himself involved in something like this,’ Thornton said.
Authorities have said Aziz also expressed on Twitter his interest in ‘buying’ a Yazidi woman upon his arrival in Islamic State group territory.
‘I just want one girl 17 years old,’ he tweeted, according to federal prosecutors.
In a filing last week that argued the Yazidi posts were irrelevant and should not be evidence at trial, Thornton called the communications ‘no more than the fantastical musings of an isolated and suppressed teenage boy.’
Yazidis, whose heartland is in Iraq’s remote Sijar region, have been targeted by Islamic State group militants for conversion and elimination, and Yazidi women have described being forced into sexual slavery.
Aziz’s sentencing was scheduled for May.
From a previous post: Pennsylvania: Muslim Charged With Supporting Islamic State Terror Group
According to the complaint, Aziz has used at least 57 different Twitter accounts to advocate violence against the United States and its citizens, to disseminate ISIL propaganda and espouse pro-ISIL views. Aziz is alleged to have posted a hyperlink containing the names, addresses and other identifying information of 100 reported members of the U.S. military and calls for violence against them.