Sudanese cab driver Mahmoud Amin Mohamed Elhassan, who lives in Virginia, was sentenced Friday to 11 years in prison for trying to provide aid to the Islamic State.
Elhassan pleaded guilty in October 2016 of attempting to support ISIS and lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, a Department of Justice press release stated.
According to court documents, Elhassan and Joseph Hassan Farrokh, also of Virginia, discussed their visions to travel to Syria and fight for ISIS in 2015. The two could barely contain themselves. Farrokh in particular said in October 2015 that he wanted to leave to Syria as soon as possible so he could “chop their heads.”
Elhassan and Farrokh used messaging apps to talk about their support for ISIS, which ramped up considerably in the summer of 2015. They believed the apps to be secure from law enforcement, but they were wrong.
Since they were so eager to join ISIS, the two men began initiating contact with other ISIS supporters around the world in an effort to facilitate travel to Syria.
Two plans emerged out of those efforts, but neither materialized.
Finally, in January 2016, the two men had decided on a plan. Farrokh left $600 to Elhassan, so that he could travel to Syria and join him at a later date.
Farrokh was to tell his family he was going to study in Saudi Arabia. Elhassan picked him up, drove him near to an airport near Richmond, at which point Farrokh took a cab the rest of the way.
Farrokh checked into his flight, cleared security and was arrested at the departure gate.
Elhassan had no idea Farrokh had been arrested.
Investigators later caught up with Elhassan and asked him questions about Farrokh’s flight. Elhassan lied to special agents and said that Farrokh flew out of Dulles Airport for a funeral in California, adding that Farrokh would be back in about two weeks. He also added that neither men supported ISIS or tried to find anyone who could help them travel to Syria.
During the case itself in January 2016, a judge threatened Elhassan’s lawyer, Ashraf Nubani, with jail for distracting from the issues by citing all the problems that Muslims face in the United States.
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