Previously, Khan had twice been sentenced to 18 months by United States District Judge Lynn Hughes, a penalty that prosecutors appealed and contended was too lenient. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with the DOJ, vacated the sentence, and sent the case to a different court.
United States District Judge Charles Eskridge handed down the new prison term for Khan, who the DOJ says was living in Australia and schemed with a friend from South Texas to travel to Turkey and Syria to become fighters for the Islamic State group in 2014.
The government indicated that Khan had coordinated with Mohamed Zuhbi, a “terrorist fighter facilitator,” to send Khan’s friend to Syria, where the friend would train as a combatant.
According to the DOJ, after Khan had traveled from Australia to Turkey to rendezvous with his friend, Khan’s family led him to believe his mother was ill so he would return to Texas. After coming home, Khan continued working with Zuhbi to send Khan’s friend to Syria and connect him with ISIS.
Khan, who reportedly graduated from the University of Houston with a degree in engineering, also provided financial support to his friend during this time, per the DOJ.
After ultimately joining the terrorist organization in August 2014, the friend’s mother was told in December the same year that he had “died while fighting,” the government stated.
Jennifer Lowery, acting United States attorney for the Southern District of Texas, commented on Eskridge’s decision and stated that federal law enforcement is committed to thwarting efforts to support foreign terrorist organizations.
“Attempting to travel to wage violent jihad on behalf of ISIS is a serious act which deserves vigorous prosecution,” Lowery stated in a DOJ press release.
“The sentence imposed today accurately reflects the gravity of the crime for which Khan was convicted. We, along with the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, National Security Division and other partners, will continue to work to disrupt those trying to support foreign terrorist organizations here or abroad.”
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Hayden Sparks is a senior reporter for The Texan and a lifelong resident of the Lone Star State. He has coached competitive speech and debate and has been involved in politics since a young age. One of Hayden's favorite quotes is by Sam Houston: "Texas has yet to learn submission to any oppression, come from what source it may."