A Texas man convicted of providing material support to the Islamic State group was sentenced Wednesday to 12 years in federal prison after the government appealed his previous sentence, saying it was too lenient.
U.S. District Judge Charles R. Eskridge in Houston sentenced Asher Abid Khan, 27, of Spring, to also serve 15 years of supervised release, prosecutors said.
Khan pleaded guilty in 2017 to providing material support to the Islamic State group. U.S. District Judge Lynn H. Hughes later sentenced Khan to 18 months in prison, saying he showed potential for rehabilitation.
The government twice appealed the 18-month sentence before the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ordered the judgment reversed and vacated and the matter reassigned, prosecutors said.
Khan was living in Australia when he and a friend from Texas came up with a plan to travel to Turkey and then to Syria in 2014 to fight for the Islamic State, according to prosecutors. Khan told a recruiter that he wanted to join the Islamic State, prosecutors say.
Khan and his friend met up in Turkey and Khan gave his friend money, knowing his plans, prosecutors said.
Khan’s family, though, convinced him to come back to the U.S. Prosecutors say that once Khan was home, he got his friend in contact with the recruiter.
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Prosecutors said the friend’s mother eventually got a message saying he’d died while fighting in Syria.
Khan’s defense team had asked the judge for a five-year sentence.
“I’m sorry that the number is much higher than we argued for,” David Adler, an attorney for Khan, told Khan’s supporters outside the courtroom, the Houston Chronicle reported.
Eskridge said anything less than 12 years wouldn’t send “the appropriate message.” The judge did recognize that Khan had cooperated with government investigations and spoken out against terrorist propaganda.
The newspaper reported Khan recently graduated from the University of Houston with an engineering degree.
“This does not mean that your life is over,” the judge said.