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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Middle District of Pennsylvania

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Jalil Abn Ameer Aziz Who Was Charged With Providing Material Support To ISIL Faces New Charges For Solicitation To Commit A Crime Of Violence And Transmitting A Communication Containing A Threat To Injure

HARRISBURG – The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced today that Jalil Ibn Ameer Aziz, 19, a U.S. citizen and resident of Harrisburg, who was previously charged by a federal Grand Jury in Scranton on charges of conspiring and attempting to provide material support to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) faces new federal charges.  In a Superseding Indictment a federal Grand Jury in Harrisburg charged Aziz with solicitation to commit a crime of violence and transmitting a communication containing a threat to injure. 

According to U.S. Attorney Peter Smith, on December 22, 2015, Aziz was charged in an indictment with conspiring and attempting to provide material support to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), a designated foreign terrorist organization.  The following day, Aziz appeared before U.S. Chief Magistrate Judge Martin C. Carlson of the Middle District of Pennsylvania and entered a plea of not guilty.   

According to the indictment, from July 2014 to December 17, 2015, Aziz knowingly conspired to provide, provided and attempted to provide material support, including personnel and services, to ISIL.  The superseding indictment alleges that during the same time period, Aziz solicited, commanded, induced and endeavored to persuade others to kill and attempt to kill officers and employees of the United States.  The superseding indictment further alleges that he knowingly tweeted the names, addresses, photographs and military branches of approximately 100 U.S. servicemembers to followers and viewers of his Twitter account.  The communication also contained threats to injure the servicemembers, stating “kill them in their own lands, behead them in their own homes, stab them to death as they walk their street thinking that they are safe.” 

Aziz was initially charged with conspiring and attempting to provide material support to ISIL in a complaint that was unsealed on December 17, 2015, following his arrest.  According to the complaint, Aziz used at least 57 different Twitter accounts to advocate violence against the United States and its citizens, to disseminate ISIL propaganda and to espouse pro-ISIL views.  On at least three occasions, Aziz allegedly used his Twitter accounts and other electronic communication services to assist persons seeking to travel to and fight for ISIL.  In one instance, Aziz allegedly acted as an intermediary between a person in Turkey and several well-known members of ISIL. 

According to the allegations in the complaint, Aziz passed location information, including maps and a telephone number, between these ISIL supporters.  A search of a backpack located in Aziz’s closet identified five loaded M4-style high-capacity magazines, a modified kitchen knife, a thumb drive, medication and a ski mask.

The case is being investigated by the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF), which includes the Pentagon Force Protection Agency and the Pennsylvania State Police, with assistance from the Harrisburg Bureau of Police. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Daryl F. Bloom and by Trial Attorneys Robert Sander and Adam L. Small of the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section.

Indictments are only allegations. All persons charged are presumed to be innocent unless and until found guilty in court.

The maximum penalty provided in the statute for each of counts 1 and 2 is 20 years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine. The maximum penalty for Count 3, Solicitation to Commit a Crime of Violence is 20 years’ imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, a term of supervised release of five years and a $100 special assessment.  The maximum penalty for count 4, Transmitting a Communication Containing a Threat to Injure, is five years’ imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, a term of supervised release of three years and a $100 special assessment.

If convicted, the defendant’s sentence will be determined by the court after reviewing factors unique to this case, including the defendant’s prior criminal record, if any, and the defendant’s role in the offense and the characteristics of the violation.  In all cases, the sentence will not exceed the statutory maximum and in most cases it will be less than the maximum.

Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the Judge is also required to consider and weigh a number of factors, including the nature, circumstances and seriousness of the offense; the history and characteristics of the defendant; and the need to punish the defendant, protect the public and provide for the defendant's educational, vocational and medical needs. For these reasons, the statutory maximum penalty for the offense is not an accurate indicator of the potential sentence for a specific defendant.

 

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Topic(s): 
Counterterrorism
Updated May 18, 2016