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In a continued effort by the US government to fight terrorism by preventing would-be terrorists from taking action, two homegrown terrorists were sent to prison on terrorism charges.
A federal federal judge sentenced Ehsanul Islam Sadequee, 23, to 17 years in prison for terrorist offenses, the Atlanta Journal and Constitution reports. U.S. District Judge Bill Duffey sentenced Sadequee's co-defendant, Syed Haris Ahmed, to 13 years in prison.
Sadequee was sentenced for conspiring to support terrorist groups by videotaping U.S. landmarks as potential terrorist targets and sending the videos overseas. Prosecutors say he also sent an e-mail seeking to join the Taliban in 2001.
Sadequee's family claimed his First Amendment rights were violated and he was only "exploring" the idea of a jihad.
The videos were found on computer hard drives. According to prosecutors, the two men were found to possess a large quantity of "violent jihad materials." They also discussed potential U.S. terrorist targets to attack.
Sadequee chose to represent himself at trial and argued that his conduct and activities were protected by the First Amendment to the U.S Constitution.
He referred to his actions as "empty talk," said that "no one in fact did anything," and told the jurors that he and his co-conspirators were "immature young guys who had imaginations running wild."
Prosecutors say the two never posed an imminent threat to the U.S. but took steps to bolster terrorists when they shot the videos of potential terrorist targets and sent them to suspected terrorists overseas.
Sadequee faced a maximum of 60 years in prison on the terrorism charges. However, prosecutors only recommended a sentence of 20 years, citing factors including Sadequee's young age.