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.
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