U.S. Teenager Sentenced To 11 Years In Prison For Pro-ISIS Tweets

Teenager sentenced to 11 years in Prison for pro-ISIS Tweet

A 17-year-old High School honor student has been sentenced to to 11 years in prison for tweeting pro-ISIS tweets on social media. reports:

The teen aided his friend in traveling to Syria to join the jihadist group in January.

In June, Ali Shukri Amin, 17, of Manassas, Virginia, pleaded guilty in a federal court to one count of providing material support and resources to Islamic State (IS, also known as ISIS/ISIL), which is considered a terrorist organization by the United States government.

On Thursday, Amin was sentenced to more than 11 years in prison. After serving his sentence, Amin will face a “lifetime of supervised release and monitoring of his internet activities,” according to the US Department of Justice (DOJ). Earlier this month, Amin said his thinking had become “distorted,” and that he had perverted the teachings of Islam to justify violence and death. “I am deeply ashamed for becoming so lost and adrift from what I know in my heart is right,” Amin wrote to the judge tasked with sentencing him, the Washington Post reported last week. Prosecutors had originally sought a 15-year prison sentence. Amin asked for just a little over six years. 

Amin was responsible for the Twitter handle @Amreekiwitness, an account with more than 4,000 followers that posted more than 7,000 messages since June 2014, according to a plea agreement. The account was openly pro-Islamic State, offering advice and encouragement to IS supporters, including how to use Bitcoin to send funding to IS. Amin’s @Amreekiwitness also sparred with the US State Department’s anti-radicalization Twittter account, @ThinkAgain_DOS.

Amin, identified as a Muslim by his attorney, facilitated travel to Syria for Reza Niknejad, 18, also of Prince William County, Virginia, according to the DOJ. Both attended Prince William County’s Osbourn Park High School, where Niknejad graduated in June 2014. Amin, an honor student who had been accepted to college before withdrawing, left the school in February.

In January, Amin and another teenager took Niknejad to Dulles International Airport outside Washington, DC so that he could catch a flight to Greece. Niknejad met up with Amin’s contacts in Istanbul, Turkey during a layover. Niknejad is now believed to be a member of the Islamic State in Syria.

Niknejad, a naturalized citizen originally from Iran, was charged in June with conspiring to provide material support to terrorists, conspiring to provide material support to IS, and conspiring to kill and injure people abroad.

Amin, a naturalized citizen from Sudan, is one of around 50 people charged by federal prosecutors in the US for trying to aid IS, the Washington Post reported in June. He is the youngest person to be charged for such activity, according to MSNBC.

The DOJ said Amin’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.”