A Pakistan-origin doctor working in the United States was on Friday sentenced to 18 years in prison for attempting to provide material support to the Islamic State in Iraq and Al-Sham (ISIS).
A statement released by the US Justice Department on Friday said that 31-year-old Muhammad Masood was licenced to practice medicine in Pakistan and had obtained employment in the US as a research coordinator at a clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, on a H-1 B work visa.
The documents showed that Masood had made multiple statements about his desire to join ISIS. He even pledged his allegiance to the proscribed organization and its leader, expressing willingness to conduct terror attacks in the United States.
Between January 2020 and March 2020, Masood used an encrypted messaging application to coordinate travel out of the US to join the terrorist organization. He purchased a ticket to fly from Chicago, Illinois, to Amman, Jordan, on February 21, 2020. From there, he planned to travel to Syria.
But Masood's travel plans changed when the Jordanian borders closed for incoming passengers on March 16, 2020, because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Masood instead agreed to fly from Minneapolis to Los Angeles to meet up with an individual who he believed would assist him with travel to Syria via a cargo ship.
On March 19, 2020, Masood travelled from Rochester to Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP) to board a flight bound for Los Angeles, California. At the airport, Masood checked in for his flight but was arrested shortly thereafter by a Joint Terrorism Task Force of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
After spending over two years in prison under trial, Masood pleaded guilty on August 16, 2022, on charges of attempting to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization.
On August 25, 2023, Masood was sentenced by Senior Judge Paul A. Magnuson.
Assistant US Attorney Andrew R. Winter for the District of Minnesota and Trial Attorney Dmitriy Slavin National Security Division's Counterterrorism Section prosecuted the case.