A California man was sentenced to 32 months in prison Friday for conspiring to skirt U.S. sanctions against Syria by sending tactical military equipment to jihadists in the war-torn country.
Amin al-Baroudi, 50, a Syrian-born naturalized U.S. citizen, pleaded guilty in January to purchasing tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of tactical equipment, including night vision rifle scopes, speed loaders and bullet proof vests, destined for Ahrar al-Sham, an insurgent group fighting to overthrow the regime of Bashar Assad.
Baroudi appeared Friday in federal court in Virginia and was sentenced to prison for his efforts.
Baroudi’s lawyer, Anthony Capozzolo, said in court that his client’s “intentions were essentially noble although essentially misguided.”
He said Baroudi was trying to prevent civilian deaths and had no sympathy for terrorist groups.
“Baroudi only wishes for Syria what we have here — freedom from government oppression,” Capozzolo added.
Ahrar al-Sham frequently fights alongside the al-Nusra Front, Syria’s al-Qaeda affiliate that has been designated a terrorist organization by the United States, authorities said.
According to court documents, Baroudi and his co-conspirators traveled with the military goods aboard commercial flights to Turkey and then smuggled them into Syria.
Baroudi was accused of making two such trips in February and March 2013.