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Monday, October 3, 2022

Canadian man who joined ISIS sentenced to life imprisonment, read propaganda video

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A Canadian man who was radicalized online, uprooted his life and joined the Islamic State in Syria, rose to the top spot in the terrorist group’s English-language propaganda arm, was sentenced on Friday to life in prison .

Prosecutors said Mohammed Khalifa, 39, was the English-language narrator in nearly 15 Islamic State propaganda videos, including some of its most influential and violent fare.

But he also had a starring role.

Khalifa admitted that he appears in the final scenes of two documentary-length Islamic State videos – “Flames of War: Fighting Has Just Begun” and “Flames of War II: Until Final Hour” – executing Syrian soldiers who They were forced to dig their own graves.

Khalifa confessed the crime He died in December as a result of plotting to provide material aid to terrorism. Prosecutors demanded a maximum sentence of life in prison. Caliph’s lawyers had requested a 20-year sentence, noting that he had killed two Syrian soldiers but no Americans, and had a wife and three children. The text of the statute under which Khalifa was charged does not require that the victims who died be Americans.

Canadian ISIS campaigner pleads guilty in US federal court

US District Judge TS Ellis III described the caliph as “the Pied Piper” who enabled Islamic State to reach English speakers in the United States and Europe with violent propaganda.

Federal prosecutors said it was in effect. Islamic State recruited 40,000 to 60,000 foreign fighters in Syria over the years fighting for control over parts of that country, he said, and the caliph was an “instrumentalist” who used video, audio statements and online Produced English language material for magazine.

Ellis said the Caliph’s punishment “should stand as a beacon, as a warning to others.”

“Don’t be a recruitment tool for ISIS or any other terrorist organization,” the judge said.

Inside the Real World of Islamic State’s Propaganda Machine

Khalifa was born in Saudi Arabia, lived in Canada from a young age, earned a college degree in computer systems technology in Toronto, and then began watching online videos during the Arab Spring, which eventually took him to Syria, Notably, al-Qaeda organizer Anwar al-Awlaki, the caliph, said in plea documents.

In a letter to the judge in January, Khalifa wrote that he had left behind a “comfortable home,” a “promising career” and prospects of marriage in Canada as he was overshadowed by the country’s president Bashar al-Muslim on Syria’s Muslim population. upset by the attacks. -Assad.

Prosecutors in the Eastern District of Virginia argued that Khalifa was aware of Islamic State activities when he tortured, ransomed, and killed humanitarian aid workers and journalists while serving in the terrorist group’s propaganda bureau. .

Khalifa admitted that he had joined Islamic State in 2013 and was captured in 2019 after shelling with Syrian Democratic Forces. He twice administered the oath of battle to Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. He sought and received a “fatwa,” or religious order, to fight the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). In Abu Badran, Syria, after Islamic State leaders issued an order to escape.

In online communications, Khalifa referred to journalists and humanitarian activists targeted by Islamic State as “infidels” with whom the terrorist group “had no covenants.” In a broadcast, Khalifa called the shooter behind the 2019 Pulse nightclub massacre in Orlando, Omar Mateen, “our brother” and said it was the deadliest terrorist attack in the United States since 9/11. Prosecutors said Khalifa referred to the victims at the gay nightclub as “filthy crusaders” and “sodomites”.

“The Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, or ISIS, skillfully employed media and propaganda as part of its campaign of terrorism during the 2013-2018 time period,” federal prosecutors said in a brief sentencing. Khalifa “served as one of the Islamic State’s most prolific campaigners during the terrorist organization’s rise” and was “personally involved in extreme acts of violence to advance the goals of ISIS.”

Caliph’s lawyer Edward Ungwarsky argued that the sentence of life imprisonment would be “extremely excessive”. He declined to comment after Ellis’ decision.

The world has forgotten this prison in Syria. Islamic State did not.

“Not only did he regret his conduct, he positively created a ‘counter-narrative’ set of videos, in the hope that he could persuade others to turn away from ISIS in the future and not repeat his mistakes.” Ungwarsky and another lawyer for Kerry Khalifa, Citronberg, wrote in a brief description of the sentence. He had also argued that Khalifa should be given jail-time credit for the rude treatment meted out to him while being held captive by the SDF.

Khalifa was captured in January 2019 and handed over to US custody in late September 2019.

In a news release after the sentencing, prosecutors called the “Limes of War” video in which Khalifa is both a voice-over narrator and an executioner on the footage “glamorized depictions of ISIS and its fighters as well as scenes of violence.”

In a court filing, prosecutors said that Khalifa did not go down without a fight.

Prosecutors said, “When he had the opportunity to surrender to the Syrian Democratic Forces in Syria in 2019, the defendant threw several grenades at Syrian soldiers and took out his AK-47 to continue his murderous campaign on behalf of ISIS. Gave.”

According to prosecutors, in Abu Badran, the caliph, “alone and armed with three grenades and an AK-47, threw a grenade on the roof of a house where SDF soldiers were standing.”

According to prosecutors’ sentence brief, “the grenade exploded and the defendant ran into the house and attempted to go to the roof, but an SDF soldier was firing from the stairs.” “The respondent opened fire on the SDF constable and tried to use his three grenades during the attack. The defendant fired most of his ammunition during the attack before his AK-47 jammed. The defendant was unable to clean his weapon. The respondent received shrapnel injuries to his left leg, right leg, left arm and other parts of his body during the gunfight. ,

Prosecutors said he surrendered after the rifle jammed.

World Nation News Desk
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