Syrian-born US citizen to be sentenced for aiding militants

AP News
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Posted: Jun 10, 2016 4:09 AM

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) — Prosecutors want a Syrian-born U.S. citizen convicted of smuggling rifle scopes, night-vision goggles and other gear to Syrian militant groups to serve nearly four years in prison.

Fifty-year-old Amin al-Baroudi of Irvine, California, is scheduled for sentencing Friday in federal court in Alexandria, Virginia. He pleaded guilty in January to violating U.S. sanctions in Syria by supplying an insurgent group called Ahrar el-Sham, which frequently fights alongside the al-Qaida affiliate in Syria.

Defense attorneys are seeking probation. They say al-Baroudi is a survivor of then-Syrian President Hafez al-Assad's massacre of civilians in Hama in 1982 and was motivated by a heartfelt desire to help Syrians shake off the regime of Bashar al-Assad.

Prosecutors say al-Baroudi may have wanted to help, but sending weapons into a war zone is the wrong method.