A Virginia teenager who ran a pro Islamic State Twitter account and encouraged a friend to join the terrorist group has been sentenced to 11 years in prison.Ali Shukri Amin, 17, from Woodbridge stood motionless as the sentence was handed down to him by U.S. District Judge Claude M. Hilton.Members of Amin’s family had packed out the courtroom to hear him sentenced and they too were silent after the jail term was read.
His sentence was less than the 15-year term that prosecutors had pushed for because the judge took his age into consideration.
But prosecutors argued that it was important to send him to prison to show that the U.S. government is committed to punishing pro ISIS supporters who spread propaganda.
Amin was stoic as he read out a statement to the judge which said that he ‘did not expect sympathy’ and was ‘ready to accept any sentence given to him’.
He said: ‘I made my decisions, and I am prepared to bear their fullest consequences.’
According to The Washington Post the teen pleaded guilty in June to conspiring to provide material support to terrorists.
They described the teen, who used to be on the honor roll at Prince William County’s Osbourn Park High School as a sophisticated Islamic State supporter.
He was accused of furthering ISIS agenda online by promoting them on social media sites.
It was also alleged that he was ready to die for the group and sent a friend to fight for them on the front lines.
His family, however, dispute these claims.
They claim Amin was a troubled kid who lost himself while seeking acceptance online.
But evidence showed that he was very forthright when tweeting from account @AmreekiWitness.
In more than 7,000 messages, he voiced controversial views and unwavering support for ISIS to more than 4,000 followers.
And he even recruited on behalf of ISIS, helping a friend, Reza Niknejad, 18, to join the terrorist group in Syria, setting Niknejad up with his overseas contacts.
He then took his friend to the airport and sent picture messages as his friend arrived and made his way over the border, according to The Washington Post.
Prosecutors said he affected ‘worldwide security’ and alleged that Amin radicalized Niknejad to fight abroad. He is believed to still be overseas.
They said: ‘It likely, unfortunately, that he will accomplish the goal that this defendant set out for him; martyrdom in the name of ISIL.’
Niknejad was charged with conspiring to kill or injure people abroad and conspiring to provide material support to terrorists and the Islamic State.
Amin wrote that he now believes he was wrong to support ISIS saying: ‘I became lost and caught up in something that takes the greatest and most profound teachings of Islam and turns them into justifications for violence and death,’ he wrote.
Clearly he’s either lying or doesn’t understand Islam.
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