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30 Years for Aspiring Islamic State Martyr Who Stole Dollars for Airfare

ISIS supporter and foreign national Nader Elhuzayel was sentenced to 30 years in federal prison, with supervised release for life, on Monday afternoon.

Elhuzayel and co-defendant Muhanad Badawi were found guilty in June after a jury deliberated for just an hour over the verdict. Elhuzayel was also found guilty of 26 counts of bank fraud. Badawi was also found guilty of a single count of financial aid fraud for “using his federal financial aid to purchase a plane ticket for Elhuzayel to travel to Turkey,” according to the United States Attorney’s Office.

United States District Judge David O. Carter said of Elhuzayel as he imposed the sentence, “There’s no remorse, no repudiation of ISIL, only death and destruction.” Judge Carter went on to recount Elhuzayel’s repeated calls for martyrdom that he said make him “especially dangerous.”

Breitbart News previously reported:

A recorded conversation of the two caught them discussing “how it would be a blessing to fight for the cause of Allah, and to die in the battlefield,” while referring to ISIS as “we.” Badawi also discussed support for the Islamic terror group, and violence against non-Muslims, on Facebook. Elhuzayel used the ISIS flag as his Facebook profile photo, according to the USAO.

Courtroom documents reveal: “On October 21, 2014, defendant Badawi made a video of defendant Elhuzayel in which defendant Elhuzayel swore allegiance to the leader of ISIS, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, and pledged to travel to Syria to be an ISIS fighter.”

Elhuzayel’s lawyer, Pal Lengyel-Leahu, tried to liken his client’s online posts advocating for ISIS to picking sides between baseball teams like the Yankees and Red Sox, according to NBC Los Angeles. Lengyel-Leahu said Elhuzayel was an Israeli citizen and was flying to meet a woman he met online to get married.

Elhuzayel was caught as he was about to board a plane at Los Angeles International Airport to travel to Turkey to join ISIS. The final destination of that flight was Israel; however, it had a layover in Istanbul where he planned to stay without boarding the connecting flight. Badawi bought that plane ticket and was recorded telling someone that he planned to join ISIS soon as well. Evidence at trial was presented showing Badawi “encouraged other associates to support ISIL and participate in violent jihad,” as Deirdre Fike, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office, previously said of the convictions.

“There can be no doubt that law enforcement’s disruption of their plans saved lives, both in the United States and abroad,” said United States Attorney Eileen M. Decker.

A Department of Justice release stated:

The trial evidence also showed that Elhuzayel used social media to communicate with ISIL supporters and operatives, to disseminate pro-ISIL information, and to assist ISIL supporters by distributing social media account information for those whose accounts had been suspended.

Evidence at trial also showed the Elhuzayel wrote to Islamic terror attacker Elton Simpson over social media on the day that Simpson carried out an attack in Garland, Texas: “I love you for the sake of Allah brother may Allah grant you Jannat al ferdaus [the highest level of Paradise reserved for martyrs].”

Elhuzayel also “received and disseminated social media communications from ISIL operative Abu Hussain al Britani, also known as Junaid Hussain, including communications trumpeting the Garland, Texas, shootings. On May 7, 2015, four days after the Garland shootings, Elhuzayel and Badawi made travel arrangements and purchased Elhuzayel’s plane ticket to join ISIL,” according to the DOJ release.

Badawi is scheduled for sentencing on October 17. He faces a statutory maximum 35 years in federal prison.

Photo: File

Follow Michelle Moons on Twitter @MichelleDiana 

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