American who joined, escaped Islamic State faces sentencing

ALEXANDRIA, VA. (AP) - The only American citizen to be convicted in a U.S. jury trial of successfully joining the Islamic State overseas is facing a sentence of up to 35 years.

Twenty-seven-year-old Mohamad Khweis of Alexandria, Virginia, was convicted earlier this year in federal court in Virginia on terrorism charges.

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.

Prosecutors say Khweis volunteered to be a suicide bomber and deserves a 35-year prison sentence.

Defense lawyers are seeking a five-year prison term at Friday's sentencing hearing. They say Khweis never intended to harm the U.S., and that a harsh sentence would deter other Americans who joined the Islamic State from quitting.

(Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

© 2017 Associated Press


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