A recruiter and marriage broker for ISIS has been sentenced to 18 years in prison for inspiring followers to join the terrorist group, US officials said.
Abdullah El Faisal was the first person to be tried under New York state terrorism laws passed after the September 11 terrorist attacks, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg said in a news release.
Prosecutors said El Faisal had worked as a matchmaker for aspiring women extremists to marry ISIS followers, promoted militant violence through writings and recordings, and provided information on how recruits could travel to Syria and Iraq to join ISIS.
He was convicted on January 26 after a two-month trial. Deliberations took less than two hours.
"El Faisal’s advocacy, recruitment and provision of material support to ISIS helped the terrorist organisation perform horrific acts, including the murder and kidnapping of innocent people,” Mr Bragg said in a press release.
“Tragically, Manhattan will continue to be a target for those who want to harm this country. Working with our federal and state law enforcement partners, our office stands at the ready to continue combating terrorism.”
El Faisal was arrested in Jamaica in 2017 after a year-long sting operation involving an undercover female officer with the New York Police Department.
Prosecutors said El Faisal had encouraged the undercover officer to view his lectures and eventually offered to help her leave the US to support foreign fighters in the Middle East.
He eventually offered to arrange a marriage between the woman and someone in ISIS, to enable travel abroad.
El Faisal was previously convicted in the UK in 2003 for crimes related to inciting murder and using hateful rhetoric to advance terrorist ideologies.
Keechant Sewell, commissioner of the New York Police Department, said Thursday's sentencing made the city and the US safer.
“As long as supporters of international terrorism continue to threaten the people we serve, the NYPD and our law enforcement partners will work tirelessly to bring them to justice,” he said.