Raja Zahid Khanzada
DALLAS: A Texas couple has been sentenced for lying about their two sons’ involvement in IS group activities in the Middle East.
Prosecutors say 57-year-old Mohommad Ali was sentenced Tuesday to one year in prison. His wife, 49-year-old Sumaiya Ali, received 30 months’ imprisonment.
The Plano couple pleaded guilty last year to making false statements to the FBI related to international terrorism.
Prosecutors alleged the couple's adult sons, Arman Ali, 27, and Omar Ali, 26, traveled to Syria to fight for the militant group. Mohammad and Sumaiya Ali in 2015 were questioned by FBI agents and they denied knowing their sons were in Syria or associated with the IS group.
The brothers have been charged with providing a foreign terrorist organization with material support or resources. Their whereabouts are unclear.
FBI officials say the Texas couple, who lied about their sons’ involvement in IS activities, pleaded guilty in federal court in June for making a false statement about international terrorism, The Dallas Morning News reported .
The couple reached an agreement with prosecutors for probation and a $5,000 fine for each. The agreement will be reviewed by a judge Thursday during a sentencing hearing.
E-mail exchanges between the sons and the couple showed that they knew that their sons were involved with the terror group.
However, it remains unclear whether the brothers are still alive since leaving for Syria.
‘The defendant has cooperated with the government and agreed to provide testimony, should it become necessary to do so in the future,’ said Catherine McDonald, an attorney for Mohammad Ali, in court documents.
Federal court records alleged their sons, Arman Ali and Omar Ali of Plano, moved to Egypt and then traveled to Syria to fight alongside the IS group.
In one online exchange sent by Arman to his father in 2015, he explains: ‘Things are heating up here, and I can’t guarantee me or Omar will be there in 2 months… I’ve been to the hospital every day with brothers from my group.’
‘Close friends have died, too many injured…Me and Omar are perfectly fine right now, but soon we may not be,’ Arman adds.
Court documents stated that the parents were aware of Arman and Omar’s departure from Egypt, and ‘communicated regularly with them regarding their whereabouts and desire to fight for ISIS.’
The brothers were charged with providing a foreign terrorist organization with material support or resources in a sealed federal complaint in March, but no indictments have been publicly filed.