ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) — The only American citizen to be convicted in a U.S. jury trial of successfully joining the Islamic State overseas has been sentenced to 20 years in prison.
Twenty-seven-year-old Mohamad Khweis of Alexandria, Virginia, was sentenced Friday in federal court in Virginia after being convicted on terrorism charges earlier this year.
Khweis traveled to Islamic State-controlled territory in Iraq and Syria in December 2015, even obtaining an official membership card. But he found life there distasteful and escaped after a few months.
The 20-year sentence was halfway between the 35-year sentence sought by prosecutors and the five-year term requested the defense. Khweis’ lawyers argued that a harsh sentence would deter other Americans who joined the Islamic State from quitting.