Virginia teen sentenced for 11 years for Managing Pro-ISIS Twitter Account

A US court has sentenced a 17-year old Virginia teen for 11 years in prison after his association with the so-called Islamic State (IS, previously ISIS/ISIL) was proved.

Reportedly, the accused Ali Shukri Amin, handled a powerful pro-ISIS Twitter account (@Amreekiwitness) which had attracted some 4,000 followers by the time it was officially shut down. Through this Twitter account, he also managed to persuade a friend to travel to Syria and join the militant group.

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Image Credit: NBC

According to the prosecutors, Amin’s sentencing demonstrates the government’s aggressive stance towards confronting ISIS’ efforts of grooming people and spreading its propaganda through social media.

Amin confessed to managing the Twitter account, posting pro-ISIS tweets and links to tutorials regarding how to send funds to ISIS in the form of virtual currency called bitcoin.

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Screenshot from @Amreekiwitness Twitter handle

United States’ Assistant Attorney General for National Security John Carlin says that:

“ISIL continues to use social media to send their violent and hateful message around the world in an attempt to radicalize, recruit and incite youth and others to support their cause. More and more, their propaganda is seeping into our communities and reaching those who are most vulnerable.”

Carlin further added (using a different acronym for ISIS):

“The Department of Justice will continue to use all tools to disrupt the threats that ISIL poses, and our efforts will be furthered by parents and other members of our community willing to take action to confront and deter this threat wherever it may surface.”

This is perhaps the very first of many such cases currently awaiting prosecution. This shows that the US has endorsed a much more aggressive stance against the suspected supporters of ISIS especially those actively spreading its propaganda on social media. The US Department of Justice officials stated that it is the need of the hour to ensure that the radicalization via the Internet is reduced significantly.

The FBI reveals that the department is already following leads to capture people with possible links to ISIS in every state and over the past few months, dozens of people have already been arrested for aiding the militant group.

Some observers also suggest that the approach of the government is a bit too harsh against those who express hateful beliefs on the web but are incapable of carrying out violent activities in real life.

Officials state that the seventeen-year-old boy was framed because he was not alone in facilitating ISIS in its recruitment process or trying to fuel domestic extremism in the United States.

US going ruthless against ISIS:

On 27th August 2015, a British national top hacker for ISIS Junaid Hussain aka TriCk was killed in a drone strike in Syria. Junaid was known as the mastermind behind every high-profile cyber attack carried out by Cyber Caliphate hacking group.

Junaid was also named as the brain behind the leaked hit list of 1500 U.S. Military and government officials urging ISIS supporters in the US to find them and kill them.

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Ryan De Souza

Ryan is a London-based member of the HackRead's Editorial team. A graduate of Maths and physics with a passion for geopolitics and human rights. Ryan places integrity at the pinnacle of successful journalism and believes this is somewhat lacking in traditional media. Ryan is an educator who balances his time between family, social activism and humanitarian causes and his vice is Football and cars.