ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Greater than one hundred individuals within the U.S. have been charged with making an attempt to assist the Islamic State, or making an attempt to hitch it, however Mohamad Khweis stood out as a result of he succeeded.
Khweis, 27, the one American citizen to be convicted in a U.S. jury trial of efficiently becoming a member of the Islamic State abroad, was sentenced to twenty years in jail Friday.
Khweis, from Alexandria, Virginia, was convicted on terrorism expenses earlier this yr. Khweis traveled to Islamic State-managed territory in Iraq and Syria in December 2015, even acquiring an official membership card. However he discovered life there distasteful and escaped after a couple of months. He surrendered in northern Iraq to Kurdish forces, who broadcast his seize around the globe.
The overwhelming majority of individuals charged in U.S. courts with Islamic State-associated terrorism offenses ran afoul of sting operations through which the suspects thought that they had made a reference to the terrorist group, solely to seek out out that their supposed contacts have been truly undercover informants or brokers.
The distinctive nature of Khweis’ crime merited a robust sentence, stated prosecutor Dennis Fitzpatrick, who argued for 35 years in jail.
“This defendant executed his plan to perfection. He acquired into the Islamic State. He was of their equipment. He was offering himself and his providers to the group,” Fitzpatrick stated.
As soon as he made it to the Islamic State territory in late 2015, he “turned the consummate utility participant for the Islamic State,” stated prosecutor Raj Parekh. “When ISIS wanted his blood, he allowed them to attract it. When ISIS wanted him to prepare dinner and clear for wounded troopers, Mohamad Khweis multitasked and crammed that position as properly.”
One factor Khweis by no means did, his legal professionals stated, was take up arms on behalf of the Islamic State.
“Whereas he was there, he didn’t struggle. He didn’t do hurt to a different human being,” protection lawyer John Zwerling stated.
Zwerling agreed with the suggestion from prosecutors that Khweis’ case is exclusive as a result of he is likely one of the few People to truly make it to Islamic State territory. However he stated his shopper deserves a measure of credit score for leaving the Islamic State on his personal, and cooperating with authorities by offering them intelligence on the group’s inside workings. He additionally helped authorities determine 4 Westerners who had left the Islamic State with intentions to do hurt of their house nations.
“He offered helpful, actionable intelligence,” Zwerling…