Virginian Who Joined, Escaped Islamic State Sentenced to 20 Years - NBC4 Washington

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Virginian Who Joined, Escaped Islamic State Sentenced to 20 Years

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    via Voice of America
    A driver's license obtained by Voice of America identifies a fighter detained in Iraq as Mohamad Jalal Khweis from Virginia.

    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.

    Mohamad Khweis, 27, 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.