UPDATE (28th August 10:53 BST): Ali Shukri Amin has been sentenced to 11 years and four months in prison, according to the US Justice Department.


A Virginia teenager who offered online advice on how to use bitcoin to fund terrorist group ISIL is to be sentenced today.

Federal prosecutors asked US District Court Judge Claude Hilton to sentence 17-year-old Ali Shukri Amin to 15 years in prison after he pled guilty in June to a charge of providing material support to ISIL.

In a statement of facts from June, prosecutors said Amin used social media to promote ISIL and discussed “ways to establish a secure donation system” using bitcoin. Amin previously worked as a journalist for the cryptocurrency news site CoinBrief. He was arrested in March.

Amin also admitted to encouraging another Virginia teen to support ISIL and later helped him travel to Syria.

In asking for the 15-year sentence, prosecutors wrote:

“The defendant’s conduct has had an impact on worldwide security, the United States’ security, and the lives of Reza Nikejad and his family. Under a best case scenario, Niknejad will return to the United States to be prosecuted and incarcerated for his activities. It is far more likely, unfortunately, that he will accomplish the goal that this defendant set out for him; martyrdom in the name of ISIL.”

The defense asked the court for a sentence of 75 months, or just over six years, based on Amin’s lack of a criminal history, strong academic record as a high school student and his cooperation with the Federal Bureau of Investigation since his arrest.

In a letter to Judge Hilton, Amin wrote that he had renounced his support for ISIL, “its violence and the way it twists the core tenets of Islam into weapons killing and oppression”.

Gavel image via Shutterstock

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