American who joined, escaped Islamic State faces sentencing

The only American citizen to be convicted in a U.S. jury trial of successfully joining Islamic State overseas is facing a sentence of up to 35 years.

Twenty-seven-year-old Mohamad Khweis of Alexandria, Va., was convicted on terrorism charges this year in federal court in Virginia.

Khweis traveled to Islamic State-controlled territory in Iraq and Syria in December 2015, even obtaining an official membership card. But he found life there distasteful and escaped after a few months.

Prosecutors say Khweis volunteered to be a suicide bomber and deserves a 35-year prison sentence.

Defense lawyers are seeking a five-year prison term at Friday's sentencing hearing. They say Khweis never intended to harm the U.S., and that a harsh sentence would deter other Americans who joined Islamic State from quitting.

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