Courtesy: Dawn News
WASHINGTON: A Pakistani physician was sentenced on Friday to 18 years in prison for attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organisation, the militant Islamic State group.
Court documents showed Mohammad Masood, 31, a licensed medical doctor in Pakistan, was formerly employed as a research coordinator at a clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. Between January and March 2020, he used an encrypted messaging application to facilitate his travel overseas to join a terrorist organisation.
A US Justice Department press release said Mr Masood made multiple statements about his desire to join the militant Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham group, and he pledged his allegiance to the organisation and its leader. The doctor also expressed his desire to conduct “lone wolf” terrorist attacks in the United States.
According to the documents submitted in a federal court, Mr Masood on Feb 21, 2020, purchased a plane ticket from Chicago, Illinois, to Amman, Jordan, and from there planned to travel to Syria. On March 16, 2020, his travel plans changed because Jordan closed its borders for incoming travellers due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Mr Masood then decided to fly from Minneapolis, Minnesota to Los Angeles to meet up with an individual who he believed would assist him with travel via a cargo ship to the IS territory.
On March 19, that year Mr Masood travelled from Rochester to Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP) to board a flight bound for Los Angeles. Upon arrival at MSP, he was arrested by the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force.
Mr Masood pleaded guilty on Aug 16, 2022, to attempting to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organisation. He was sentenced on Aug 25 before Senior Judge Paul A. Magnuson.