A former California college student has been sentenced to 30 years in prison for trying to aid the Daesh terrorist group.
Muhanad Badawi, 25, was found guilty of providing "material support" to the militant group in the form of his recruit, Nader Elhuzayel, who was found guilty of conspiring and attempting to join a terrorist organization. In September, Elhuzayel was also sentenced to 30 years in prison.
In arguing for the 30-year sentence plus a lifetime of supervised release, U.S. prosecutors said Badawi was "a radicalizer, recruiter, and facilitator" for Daesh who aspired to die fighting for the terrorist organization.
Prosecutors argued that Badawi deserved the same sentence as Elhuzayel.
"Their crimes are equally serious, their prospects for rehabilitation are equally bleak, and the need to protect the public from their future crimes and crimes by others like them is the same," they wrote in a memorandum to the U.S. district court in Santa Ana, California earlier this month.
Badawi's defense attorney, Kate Corrigan of Corrigan, Welbourn, Stokke, had pushed for a 15-year sentence, arguing that unlike Elhuzayel, her client did not have a ticket in his hand to leave the country and join Daesh.
She said she plans to appeal the conviction and the sentence.
Badawi was apprehended on May 21, 2015, the same day Elhuzayel was arrested at Los Angeles International Airport while attempting to travel to Tel Aviv, Israel, before heading to Istanbul, Turkey.
Badawi, who emigrated to the U.S. from Sudan in 2006, gave Elhuzayel access to a debit card linked to his Pell grant funds to purchase his one-way plane ticket, in violation of federal financial aid rules.
The two men made their travel arrangements four days after a May 4 attack by two gunmen on a heavily guarded Texas exhibit of caricatures of the Prophet Mohammad. Both of the gunmen were killed by a police officer during the attack.