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Virginia man admits to helping ISIS

[JURIST] A Northern Virginia man pleaded guilty [statement of facts, PDF] Friday to attempting to provide the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) [BBC backgrounder] with material support and to attempting to join the terror organization. Joseph Hassan Farrokh was arrested at Logan International Airport in January after he inadvertently discussed his plans to join ISIS with an FBI informant. Farrokh was arrested with Mahmoud Amin Mohamed Elhassan, with whom Farrokh spoke openly with about plans to join ISIS. By pleading guilty in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia [official website] and accepting [press release] a plea agreement [text], Farrokh faces a maximum penalty of up to 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and a lifetime of supervised release.

ISIS, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and simply the Islamic State (IS), has been accused of war crimes on a massive scale in Iraq and Syria. Earlier this week, US Secretary of State John Kerry, in a speech at the State Department, declared [JURIST report] that the Islamic State "is responsible for genocide against groups in areas under its control, including Yezidis, Christians, and Shia Muslims." Shortly before, the US House of Representatives unanimously passed a resolution [JURIST report] denouncing the actions of IS as "genocide" and calling for the establishment of international and domestic tribunals by UN member states. In December Amnesty International said that the Islamic State is in possession of a "large and lethal" arsenal [JURIST report] due to decades of reckless arms trading and the poorly regulated international flow of weapons into Iraq. In November IS claimed responsibility [JURIST report] for a series of coordinated attacks in Paris that killed more than 120 individuals.

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