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New York Man Sentenced to Over 12 Years in Prison for Attempting to Join ISIS in Syria

A search warrant for his personal computer revealed he had viewed or listened to recordings of radical Islamic cleric Anwar al-Awlaki.

A New York man was sentenced today to 12 years and nine months in prison followed by 15 years of supervised release for attempting to provide material support or resources to the Islamic State of Iraq and al Sham (ISIS), a foreign terrorist organization.

Parveg Ahmed, 27, of Queens, pleaded guilty to one count of attempting to provide material support or resources to a foreign terrorist organization in June 2018. According to court documents, Ahmed is a U.S. citizen who traveled to Saudi Arabia in June 2017, purportedly to celebrate an Islamic religious holiday. Upon his arrival in Saudi Arabia, Ahmed attempted to travel to Syria to join ISIS.  Ahmed was apprehended in a country bordering Syria during his attempted travel to ISIS-controlled territory.

Previously, Ahmed had repeatedly expressed support on social media for ISIS and for individuals who provided support to the foreign terrorist organization’s mission of violent extremism. On July 17, 2017, law enforcement agents obtained a search warrant for his personal computer, and learned that he had viewed or listened to recordings of radical Islamic clerics Anwar al-Awlaki, a U.S.-born cleric and prominent leader of the foreign terrorist organization al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, who was killed on or about Sept. 30, 2011, and Abdullah el-Faisal, a Jamaican-born cleric, who was found guilty in the United Kingdom of solicitation to commit murder for preaching to followers to kill individuals, including Americans, because he deemed them to be enemies of Islam. Ahmed was deported to the United States on Aug. 28, 2017, where he was arrested at John F. Kennedy International Airport. Subsequent review of electronic devices found in Ahmed’s possession when he was detained attempting to travel to Syria also revealed:

  • Messages explaining that the defendant planned to join ISIS in Syria to wage violent jihad and expressing farewell to the defendant’s family members. Specifically, review of his devices revealed a message he composed, but had not yet sent, stating, “[W]e have made it to Dawlatul Islam [ISIS] in Syria. In sha Allah [God willing] we will join the Jihad very soon and in Sha Allah [God willing] we will then join the ranks of the Shuhuda [martyrs]. The West has invaded the land of the Muslims and is constantly attacking it.”

Assistant Attorney General Matthew G. Olsen of the Justice Department’s National Security Division, U.S. Attorney Breon Peace for the Eastern District of New York, Assistant Director Robert R. Wells of the FBI Counterterrorism Division and Assistant Director in Charge Michael J. Driscoll of the FBI New York Field Office made the announcement.

The FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force investigated the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Craig R. Heeren and Meredith A. Arfa for the Eastern District of New York prosecuted the case, with valuable assistance provided by the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section.

Read more at the Justice Department

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