A Manassas, Virginia teenager has been sentenced to 136 months in prison for using social media to gather support and fund the Islamic State.
At 17-years old, Ali Shukri Amin is thought to be the youngest person ever prosecuted under the Material Support Law passed as part of the USA PATRIOT Act. Amin had admitted to using his twitter account to explain to his over 4,000 followers how to use Bitcoin to support Islamic State efforts.
Additionally, Amin admitted to helping 19-year old Reza Niknejad travel to Syria to join ISIS in January. Amin drove Niknejad to the airport and gave him instructions on meeting accomplices in Turkey who would assist him in getting to Syria and joining the Islamic State. Niknejad faces federal terrorism and conspiracy charges in Virginia.
Amin plead guilty to the charges in June, but sentencing was delayed as the case was moved from juvenile court. Amin was an honor student at Osbourn Park High School in Manassas.
Although the prosecution had asked for the full 15-year sentence, U.S. District Judge Claude M. Hilton, citing Amin’s age and lack of criminal record, imposed an 11 year and 4 month prison sentence. Amin has cooperated with police since he plead guilty in June and has denounced the Islamic State for the way it has twisted the tenets of Islam and for its violence. In a letter written before the sentencing, he explained that he got involved with ISIS because they gave him respect.
U.S. Attorney Dana Boente made a statement after the ruling was handed down on Friday:
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. The Department of Justice will continue to pursue those that travel to fight against the United States and our allies, as well as those individuals that recruit others on behalf of ISIL in the homeland
Although Amin is the youngest person successfully prosecuted under the Material Support Law, in recent months the number of people who have been charged with it has increased.