[JURIST] US Assistant Attorney General John Carlin [official profile] told reporters [Reuters report] Monday that more than 110 people have been charged in federal court since 2013 on counts related to the Islamic State (IS) militant group. In more than 80 percent of these cases prosecuted, someone who had accused the person believed they had witnessed the activity for which the individual was charged. However, in more than half of those cases, the witnesses did not report the activity to the police until after the charges were made. Many IS supporters prosecuted were charged under “material support” statutes that criminalize supporting certain foreign terrorist groups. Carlin noted that supporting a domestic group in which some of its members have committed crimes should not be criminalized because it “runs into our Constitution and values” and gets “close to making illegal ideas.” The Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website] charged 60 people in 2015 with supporting or committing crimes due to sympathizing with IS, but the number arrested in 2016 has been lower than 2015’s statistics.
IS, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), have been accused of war crimes on a massive scale in Iraq and Syria. In March US Secretary of State John Kerry said [JURIST report] that IS “is responsible for genocide against groups in areas under its control, including Yazidis, Christians, and Shia Muslims.” Also in March the US House of Representatives unanimously passed a resolution [JURIST report] denouncing the actions of IS as “genocide” and called for the establishment of international and domestic tribunals by UN member states. France’s anti-terror prosecutor announced his decision last week to hand down harsher criminal charges [JURIST report], with sentences up to 30 years, for returning French jihadists from Iraq, Syria, and other areas where IS is actively involved.