A southern California man convicted of trying to become a fighter for the Islamic State terrorist group was sentenced Monday to 30 years in prison.
Muhanad Badawi, 25, was convicted earlier this year of conspiracy to aid a foreign terrorist organization and other crimes.
“The significant sentence the defendant received illustrates the gravity of this crime and the threat the defendants posed to the United States,” Deirdre Fike, assistant director in charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles office, said in a statement. Badwadi also was sentenced to a lifetime of supervised release.
Authorities say Badawi and 25-year-old Nader Elhuzayel, also of California, concocted a scheme for Elhuzayel to fly to the Middle East to fight for Islamic State, and that Badawi lent him his debit card to buy a one-way plane ticket to Israel with a six-hour layover in Turkey.
The evidence at trial showed that Elhuzayel and Badawi used social media to discuss Islamic State beheadings and other terror attacks. In recorded conversations, the two discussed how “it would be a blessing to fight for the cause of Allah, and to die in the battlefield.”
Defense attorney Kate Corrigan, who has said Badawi never intended to fight for the Islamic State, had requested half the amount of prison time and 20 years of supervision.
She cited his lack of criminal history and age and said she planned to appeal the sentence.
“The real message from today’s hearing is that anyone who thinks they want to support ISIS or even dabble in its rhetoric better be ready to serve a lot of time in prison,” she wrote in an email according to the Associated Press.
Badawi moved to the United States as a child from Sudan, where he was born. He lived in Orange County, California, and studied engineering.
While in custody, Badawi stopped eating and dropped from 140 to 109 pounds before a judge ordered him force-fed last December, according to the Associated Press.
Elhuzayel was sentenced three weeks ago, also to 30 years in prison.