Washington-In a clear sign that U.S. judicial authorities would take harsh measures against suspects directly or indirectly linked to ISIS, an Orange County man in California has been sentenced to 30 years in federal prison.
The Los Angeles Times said that Muhanad Badawi, the 24-year-old Anaheim man, received on Wednesday a long prison term for trying to help the terrorist group.
Badawi had used his debit card to purchase a one-way ticket so that a friend, Nader Elhuzayel, could travel to Syria to join ISIS.
“The significant sentence the defendant received illustrates the gravity of this crime and the threat the defendants posed to the United States,” Deirdre Fike, assistant director in charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles office, said in a statement.
Kate Corrigan, Badawi’s attorney, argued that her client was not an ISIS recruiter. If that were the case, she stated, federal officials would have had secured multiple indictments of the people he had allegedly recruited.
Corrigan argued that a sentence of more than 15 years for Badawi would be excessive.
In September, Elhuzayel was sentenced to 30 years in prison.
Badawi was apprehended on May 21, 2015, the same day Elhuzayel was arrested at Los Angeles International Airport while attempting to travel to Tel Aviv, Israel, before heading to Istanbul, Turkey.
Badwadi also was sentenced to a lifetime of supervised release.
Meanwhile, The Washington Post quoted top security officials as saying that a rising number of Americans are planning to join ISIS.
U.S. security agencies have taken measures against dozens of them, they said.
The dangerous rise in the number of people wanting to join ISIS has compelled the judiciary to issue harsh sentences against those suspected of belonging to the terrorist group, the officials added.
FBI Director James Comey said earlier this month that dozens of people in the U.S. are engaged in conversations with overseas supporters of ISIS that the FBI cannot monitor.
“ISIS is sending a poisonous message that buzzes in the pockets of troubled souls, unmoored people, all day long,” Comey told the Senate Homeland Security Committee. “The challenge we face is finding those needles in a nationwide haystack, assessing where they are on a spectrum between consuming this poison and acting on it, and disrupting them before they act.”