February 6, 2018 / 9:53 PM / 8 months ago

New York man gets 18 years prison for Islamic State support

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A New York City man was sentenced to 18 years in prison on Tuesday after he pleaded guilty to charges of conspiring to aid Islamic State and assaulting a federal law enforcement officer.

Munther Omar Saleh, 22, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Margo Brodie in Brooklyn, according to John Marzulli, a spokesman for federal prosecutors.

“Mr. Saleh is sincerely remorseful,” said Saleh’s lawyer, Deborah Colson. “He is relieved to have put this behind him and he is ready to make amends.”

Saleh, a resident of the New York City borough of Queens and a U.S. citizen, pleaded guilty in February 2017. He admitted that in 2015 he helped New Jersey resident Nader Saadeh with his travel and accompanied him to John F. Kennedy International Airport for a flight to Jordan, where Saadeh was subsequently detained.

Saadeh has pleaded guilty to charges of conspiring to help Islamic State but has yet to be sentenced.

Saleh and a high school senior, Imran Rabbani, were arrested in June 2015 after running toward a law enforcement surveillance vehicle as they drove to a mosque, according to court records. When he pleaded guilty, Saleh said he “knew” the officers were following him because of his support for Islamic State.

Rabbani was sentenced to 20 months in prison in August 2016 after pleading guilty to a non-terrorism charge.

Prosecutors said Saleh, who was studying at an aeronautics college in Queens, also researched carrying out a domestic attack using a pressure cooker bomb and discussed his plan with another man, Fareed Mumuni, who was also charged.

Mumuni also pleaded guilty but has not yet been sentenced.

As of January, 157 have been charged in the United States in connection with Islamic State, according to the Program on Extremism at George Washington University. The militant group has lost most of the territory it once controlled in Iraq and Syria.

Reporting by Brendan Pierson in New York; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Lisa Shumaker

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