A Virginia teenager has been sentenced to 11 years in prison for running a pro Islamic State Twitter account. Ali Shukri Amin, 17, from Woodbridge pleaded guilty to conspiring to provide material support to a terrorist organisation by suggesting ways Isis could use Bitcoin to dodge detection of its ventures and posting thousands of pro-terrorist tweets on Twitter.
He also admitted to helping an 18-year-old friend travel to fight with the terrorist group and boasted of it on his Twitter handle @AmreekiWitness, said authorities. By the time Amin's Twitter account was shut down, he had tweeted more than 7,000 times and attracted more than 4,000 followers, reports the Washington Post.
As the sentence was handed down to him by U.S. District Judge Claude M. Hilton, he and members of his family remained silent as the jail term was read the Mail Online reports.. The teenager read out a statement to the judge saying he 'did not expect sympathy' and was 'ready to accept any sentence given to him'.
"I made my decisions, and I am prepared to bear their fullest consequences," he said adding that he now believes he was wrong to support ISIS. "I became lost and caught up in something that takes the greatest and most profound teachings of Islam and turns them into justifications for violence and death," he wrote.
The teenager, who used to be on the honor roll at Prince William County's Osbourn Park High School was described as a sophisticated Islamic State supporter who had played a role in furthering ISIS agenda online by promoting them on social media sites.
He even recruited on behalf of ISIS, helping a friend, Reza Niknejad, 18, to join the terrorist group in Syria. Amin is accused of radicalizing Niknejad to fight abroad propagating extremist material. The prosecution added: "It is likely, unfortunately, that he will accomplish the goal that this defendant set out for him; martyrdom in the name of ISIL."
It was also alleged that Amin was also ready to die in the name if Isis, however his family dispute these claims, describing him as a troubled kid who lost himself while seeking acceptance online.
Prosecutors had pushed for a 15-year prison term arguing that it was important to demonstrate that the U.S. government is committed to punishing pro ISIS supporters who spread propaganda. Taking his age into consideration the judge sentenced him to 11 years.