A former Alabama college student was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison after pleading guilty to gathering bomb-making materials and planning to blow up a police building on behalf of ISIS.
At his sentencing Wednesday, Aziz Sayyed, 23, told U.S. District Judge Abdul K. Kallon he was “sorry about the path I’ve taken,” reported Alabama’s AL.com.
“I don’t know what else to say, your honor,” said Sayyed, who is an American citizen.
Federal prosecutors said that in 2017, Sayyed, 23, met with an FBI agent who posed as a member of ISIS and expressed a desire to assist the terrorist organization.
“Would he have exploded a bomb? I don’t think so, but I can’t tell you that for sure,” Defense attorney Bruce Gardner said after the sentencing hearing. “The FBI, to their credit, came in at exactly the right time in their mission to protect us all.”
Along with the 15-year sentence, the judge ordered Sayyed to a lifetime of supervised release, AL.com reported. Probation officers will be allowed to search his home, car and electronic devices. Any kind of contact with a terrorist group or its propaganda could be considered a violation of his release.
Robert Spencer, who has spotlighted countless cases of Muslim American citizens prosecuted for terrorist plots on his website Jihad Watch, asked: “When Aziz Sayyed is released, which will be in less than fifteen years, will he become a loyal, productive citizen? Possibly. But nothing will be done while he is in prison to try to ensure that. Instead, the ideology that landed him in prison in the first place will be reinforced, and anyone who objects will be called ‘Islamophobic.'”
Federal prosecutors said Sayyed watched propaganda videos that showed ISIS forces committing bombings, executions and beheadings.
According to his 13-page plea deal, he showed support for the terrorist organization by singing ISIS chants, having an ISIS flag and saying the group was on the “right path.”
Sayyed, born in Raleigh, North Carolina, was living in Huntsville, Alabama, to attend Calhoun Community College, AL.com reported. His parents live in Kuwait, though he has an uncle who lives in Huntsville and works for NASA.
The defense attorney, Gardner, affirmed Sayyed is “very sorry.”
“Everybody wants a do-over, and he’d sure like to have one of those,” Gardner said, according to AL.com. “He realized he had gone to far, that he had broken the law, that he had potentially put a lot of peoples’ lives in danger.”