Teen jailed for supporting ISIS on Twitter

The case shows how wide a net officials have cast in prosecuting online activities related to ISIS

A 17-year-old Virginia resident has been sentenced to more than 11 years in prison by a U.S. federal court after he used Twitter to provide financial and recruiting support to the extremist Islamic group known as ISIS.

The sentence handed down Friday shows how wide a net officials have cast in prosecuting online activities related to ISIS, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.

While this case focused on the defendant's use of Twitter, he also used messaging apps like WhatsApp and Tox for ISIS-related communications, one of his attorneys said in an interview.

The defendant, Ali Shukri Amin, also provided instructions on how to use Bitcoin to contribute funds to ISIS.

"Today's sentencing demonstrates that those who use social media as a tool to provide support and resources to ISIL will be identified and prosecuted with no less vigilance than those who travel to take up arms with ISIL," said U.S. Attorney Dana Boente, in an announcement, referring to the group by another acronym, short for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

Amin created the Twitter account @AmreekiWitness in 2014, and used it to provide advice and encouragement to ISIS and its supporters, according to court documents. At one point the account had over 4,000 followers.

He also helped other ISIS supporters who sought to travel to Syria to join the group, according to the Justice Department.

Amin pleaded guilty to the charges. He admitted he helped an 18-year-old Virginia resident travel to Syria to join ISIS in January.

ISIS and its supporters have used sites like Twitter, Facebook and YouTube to post graphic content and spread hateful messages. But activity on Twitter has attracted particular attention, partly due to the ease by which messages can spread on the platform.

After he is released from prison, Amin's Internet activities will be monitored for life, the Justice Department said.

Joe Flood, one of the defense attorneys, said he was disappointed with the sentence, but also pleased that it was less than the 28-years-to life-sentence the defendant potentially faced.

He maintained that much of his client's actions on Twitter were free speech protected by the U.S. Constitution.

Flood said there have been other cases concerning defendants' use of the Internet and social media sites to support ISIS or other acts of terror.

But one element that makes this case unique is the defendant's status as a minor, he said.

A Twitter spokesman said the company does not comment on individual accounts, for privacy and security reasons.

The company's terms ban posts that make threats of or promote violence.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Isistwitter

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Zach Miners

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?