Woman Sentenced for Federal Witness Tampering in Relation to Trial for Gang-Related Murder and Multistate Drug Trafficking Ring
ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Ali Shukri Amin, 17, of Manassas, Virginia, was sentenced today to 136 months in prison, followed by a lifetime of supervised release and monitoring of his internet activities, for conspiring to provide material support and resources to the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), a designated foreign terrorist organization.
“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,” said Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. “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.”
“Ali Shukri Amin is a young American who used social media to provide material support to ISIL,” said John Carlin, Assistant Attorney General for National Security. “ISIL continues to use social media to send their violent and hateful message around the world in an attempt to radicalize, recruit and incite youth and others to support their cause. More and more, their propaganda is seeping into our communities and reaching those who are most vulnerable. The Department of Justice will continue to use all tools to disrupt the threats that ISIL poses, and our efforts will be furthered by parents and other members of our community willing to take action to confront and deter this threat wherever it may surface.”
“Today marks a personal tragedy for the Amin family and the community as we have lost yet another young person to the allure of extremist ideology focused on hatred,” said Andrew G. McCabe, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office. “Amin’s case serves as a reminder of how persistent and pervasive online radicalization has become. The FBI, through our Joint Terrorism Task Forces, remains dedicated to protecting the United States against the ongoing violent threat posed by ISIL and their supporters.”
“Observations made by school staff and subsequent follow-up by the School Resource Officer were some of the earlier indicators of suspicious behavior regarding this individual,” said Stephan Hudson, Chief of Prince William County Police Department. “Those observations were quickly relayed to our partners with the JTTF who acted upon this information very quickly. We greatly appreciate that these observations were observed and reported to the proper authorities proved to be instrumental in the overall investigation in stopping a dangerous network such as ISIL from further infiltrating our community.”
Amin pleaded guilty on June 11, 2015. According to court documents, 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 on June 10, 2015, 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.
U.S. District Judge Claude M. Hilton presided over the case and delivered the sentence. This case was investigated by the Joint Terrorism Task Force of the FBI’s Washington Field Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael P. Ben’Ary and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Caroline H. Friedman prosecuted the case. Substantial assistance was provided by Trial Attorney Stephen Sewell of the National Security Division's Counterterrorism Section.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 1:15-cr-164.