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American teen faces 15 years in jail for running notorious ISIS Twitter account

Ali Shukri Amin also arranged for another teenager to travel to Syria.

Mideast Islamic State Child Soldiers Islamic State group militants in Iraq. Source: Associated Press

A 17-YEAR-OLD in the US state of Virginia has pleaded guilty to running a social media-driven propaganda and fund-raising operation for the Islamic State group.

Ali Shukri Amin had gained notoriety for running the @AmreekiWitness Twitter account (now suspended), and dragging the US State Department into a war of words online.

Between last June and this February, the teenager gained more than 4,000 followers, and over the course of around 7,000 tweets, defended and celebrated the brutal terrorism of ISIS.

According to a statement by the US Department of Justice, Amin also taught others to use Bitcoin to cover up their funding of the group, and incited another Virginia teenager to travel to Syria to take up arms.

18-year-old Reza Niknejad was yesterday charged with conspiring to provide material support to terrorists, conspiring to provide material support to ISIS and conspiring to kill and injure people abroad.

In a statement of facts, signed by Amin himself, he admits converting Niknejad to radical Islam over a period of months, putting him in touch with fighters in the Middle East, and even driving him to the airport in Washington DC in January.

According to the Washington Post, Niknejad appears to still be overseas.

Amin was one of many online ISIS-supporters targeted by the US State Department’s “Think Again Turn Away” project, a social media-based initiative to proactively counteract jihadist propaganda.

On one occasion, last August, Amin (under the username @AmreekiWitness), tweeted:

IS has flaws, but the moment you claim they cut off the heads of every non-Muslim they see, the discussion is over.

To which the State Department replied:

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The former high school student even advocated a jihadist uprising in Ferguson, Missouri, at the height of tensions there following the police shooting of black teenager Michael Brown.

Amin has agreed to cooperate with the US government, and tell them everything he knows, in return for his conviction on one count of “providing material support and resources” to a terrorist organisation.

He could face a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison.

However, the plea agreement published today notes that the 17-year-old’s early admission of guilt and willingness to cooperate, could allow for a reduction in that sentence.

Amin was arrested in February, and one of his teacher’s later described him as “a great kid with real potential.”

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About the author:

Dan MacGuill

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