A U.S. District judge sentenced a Texas couple to prison for lying to the FBI about their adult sons’ involvement with the Islamic State in Syria.
District Judge Marcia A. Crone in Plano, Texas, handed down one year in prison to Mohommad Ali, 57, and 30 months to his wife, Sumaiya Ali, 49, in back-to-back hearings on Tuesday, the Dallas Morning News reported. Both paid a $5,000 fine and will serve three years of supervised release after prison.
The couple pleaded guilty last year to making false statements to the FBI regarding international terrorism.
What’s the story?
Prosecutors said the couple’s sons, Arman Ali, 27, and Omar Ali, 26, traveled to Syria in late 2014 where they joined to fight with the Islamic State. Sumaiya communicated with her sons regularly and knew they wanted to fight with the terrorist group.
In February 2014, Sumaiya texted her younger son, “Do what u need to do.” Omar responded, “[O]k then going to Syria it is,” according to court documents.
In March 2015, the older son sent his father an email from Syria: “Things are heating up here, and I can’t guarantee me or Omar will be there in 2 months … I’ve been to the hospital every day with brothers from my group. Close friends have died, too many injured. Me and Omar are perfectly fine right now, but soon we may not be.”
Two months later, the FBI interviewed the couple who both denied that their sons were in Syria.
Sumaiya told the agents their sons “are very reserved,” according to court documents.
And Mohommad told them “his sons were peaceful, liked to study,” court documents stated.
Both parents told the FBI that their sons were in Egypt and that the two brothers would never be involved with a terrorist group.
The couple’s attorneys declined to comment on the case after the hearing.
When do their sentences begin?
Sumaiya’s sentence will start Feb. 27.
Mohammad’s sentence won’t begin until June 3, after the couple’s daughter finishes the school year.
The brothers graduated from high school in Plano. It’s unclear if the family migrated to the U.S. from another country.
Last March, federal officials filed a complaint against the brothers whose whereabouts are unknown. The complaint alleges the brothers provided material support or resources to foreign terrorist organizations.
Their cases will remain open although it’s not clear whether they are still alive.