Seventeen-year-old Facilitated Travel to Syria for 18-year-old Prince William County, Virginia, Resident
Ali Shukri Amin, 17, of Manassas, Virginia, pleaded guilty today to charges of conspiring to provide material support and resources to the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), a designated foreign terrorist organization.
Assistant Attorney General for National Security John P. Carlin, U.S. Attorney Dana J. Boente of the Eastern District of Virginia and Assistant Director in Charge Andrew McCabe of the FBI’s Washington, D.C., Field Office.
“Ali Shukri Amin is a 17-year-old American who pleaded guilty to providing material support to ISIL, and he used social media to do so,” said Assistant Attorney General Carlin. “Around the nation, we are seeing ISIL use social media to reach out from the other side of the world. Their messages are reaching America in an attempt to radicalize, recruit and incite our youth and others to support ISIL's violent causes. This case serves as a wake-up call that ISIL's propaganda and recruitment materials are in your communities and being viewed by your youth. This challenge requires parental and community awareness and action to confront and deter this threat wherever it surfaces.”
“Today’s guilty plea 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,” said U.S. Attorney Boente. “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, and prosecute them to the full extent of the law.”
In a statement of facts filed with the plea agreement, Amin admitted to using Twitter to provide advice and encouragement to ISIL and its supporters. Amin, who used the Twitter handle @Amreekiwitness, provided instruction on how to use Bitcoin, a virtual currency, to mask the provision of funds to ISIL, as well as facilitation to ISIL supporters seeking to travel to Syria to fight with ISIL. Additionally, Amin admitted that he facilitated travel for Reza Niknejad, an 18-year-old Prince William County resident who traveled to Syria to join ISIL in January 2015. Niknejad was charged yesterday in the Eastern District of Virginia with conspiring to provide material support to terrorists, conspiring to provide material support to ISIL and conspiring to kill and injure people abroad.
Amin’s plea was accepted by U.S. District Court Judge Claude M. Hilton of the Eastern District of Virginia. Amin was charged by criminal information during the court hearing today, and faces a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison if convicted. The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes, as the sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
This case was investigated by the FBI’s Washington, D.C., Field Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael P. Ben’Ary and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Caroline H. Friedman of the Eastern District of Virginia are prosecuting the case, with the assistance of Trial Attorney Stephen Sewell of the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section.