American who joined, escaped Islamic State gets 20 years - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

American who joined, escaped Islamic State gets 20 years

Mohamad Khweis, 27 (Source: Fairfax County Police Department) Mohamad Khweis, 27 (Source: Fairfax County Police Department)

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) - 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.

Twenty-seven-year-old Mohamad Khweis 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.

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