CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – A Ladson teen was sentenced in federal court on Monday for attempting to join ISIS.
Zakaryia Abdin was messaging who he thought was a member of ISIS, but instead turned out to be an undercover FBI agent.
In these messages, it was discovered that Abdin had talked about coming over to Syria and fighting for the Islamic State and that he would be willing to torture an American.
He was arrested at the Charleston International Airport back in March 2017 as he tried to board a plane to Jordan.
In court today, his lawyer was trying to make the argument that the language the FBI agent used in the messages coerced Abdin into making radical statements against Americans.
Judge Richard Gergel disagreed with this argument and said he believed that the FBI agent acted appropriately and that all of the evidence outside of the messages against Abdin show that he was more than willing to join ISIS.
Abdin had recorded a video of himself shooting a semi-automatic assault rifle that he bought and even referenced the 2016 Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, which led for the judge to believe that he was thinking about conducting a possible terrorist attack.
On the opposite side, the government said that they believed America was saved from another potential terrorist attack and that Abdin had never renounced ISIS and their teachings. The closest that he had come to renouncing ISIS was by saying that he “had some doubts” about what they were doing but never all out denounced their ways.
Abdin’s family, his mother, sister, and family friend, wanted the court to know that the “Zak” that they know is a kid who helps out his family at all times especially after the passing of his father and they are disappointed in what he has done.
He would follow the statements made by his family by reading a letter he had written to them and mentioned how much he did regret his actions and was hoping that time away in prison would help him grow and change.
Before handing down the ultimate sentence, Judge Gergel told Abdin to make sure he further his education while in prison and to use his auto mechanic skills to stay out of trouble, so that he can work on finding a better life once he’s released.
Abdin would be sentenced to 20 years in prison with lifetime supervision once he’s released and his final request was to be incarcerated as close to home as possible.