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U.S. Court Convicts Two of Conspiring to Join ISIS - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Los Angeles-A U.S. court has convicted two men of attempting to help ISIS in Iraq and Syria and could be sentenced to long years in prison, the U.S. Justice Department said in a statement.

A jury found Nader Elhuzayel and Muhanad Badawi, both 25, guilty of conspiring to provide material support to the jihadist group, it said.

Both men, from Anaheim, California, were arrested in May last year, when Elhuzayel was about to board a plane from Los Angeles to Turkey to join ISIS.

The jury also found Elhuzayel guilty of 26 counts of bank fraud, for which he faces up to 100 years in prison.

It found Badawi guilty of fraudulent use of federal funds, for which he faces up to 35 years in prison.

They had used social media to discuss ISIS and terrorist attacks, “expressed a desire to die as martyrs, and made arrangements for Elhuzayel to leave the United States to join” the organization, the Justice Department statement said.

In recorded conversations, Badawi and Elhuzayel “discussed how it would be a blessing to fight for the cause of Allah, and to die in the battlefield.”

In her opening remarks, prosecutor Deirdre Eliot told the jury that the two men had shared pictures of beheadings on social media.

Badawi’s lawyer argued that although his client’s behavior could be perceived as “un-American” and “repulsive,” he did not intend to carry out an attack.

Elhuzayel’s lawyer Pal Lengyel-Leahu argued his client’s comments on social media were merely provocative opinions that should be protected under the right to freedom of speech.

The pair will be sentenced in September.