Virginia teen behind ISIS Twitter account gets 11 year sentence

The Virginia teenager who supported ISIS on Twitter, among other things, has been sentenced to more than 11 years in prison, the U.S. Department of Justice has announced. The matter concerns 17-year-old Ali Shukri Amin, the Virginia-based teenager behind the "@Amreekiwitness" Twitter account that offered support to ISIS and disseminated ISIS propaganda. Reportedly, the support included providing information on using Bitcoin to send financial support to terrorists. The teen plead guilty to running the Twitter account in mid-June.

Amin is accused of having helped someone travel to Syria in order to join ISIS, and to have operated the aforementioned Twitter account; it reportedly had in excess of 4,000 followers at one point. The friend Amin helped travel has, according to government officials, been arrested and charged for his support of terrorism.

Social media is a big aspect of ISIS propaganda and support efforts; it is used to support existing members, recruit future members, pass along information, and more. The government had been actively targeting such information in a bid to prevent domestic terrorism and disrupt channels through which foreign ISIS members are instructed and supported.

The Department of Justice has, according to reports, increased its efforts in recent months, and is passing down harsher penalties for involvement in such groups. Such an effort is stated as necessary in order to prevent the growth of terrorist groups within the nation, while critics express concern about punishment targeted at thoughts, not actions.

SOURCE: The Hill