US judge gives life term to Canadian ISIS propagandist

Jul 30, 2022, 1:56 AM | Updated: 2:02 pm

FALLS CHURCH, Va. (AP) — A Canadian citizen who led propaganda efforts for the Islamic State group and personally executed two Syrian soldiers in widely circulated videos was sentenced to life in prison Friday by a U.S. judge.

Prosecutors sought the life sentence for Mohammed Khalifa, 39, a Saudi-born Canadian who held prominent roles for the Islamic State group from 2013 until his capture in 2019.

In a sentencing memorandum, prosecutors said Khalifa played a key role in the group’s successful efforts to recruit tens of thousands of foreign fighters to defend its self-proclaimed caliphate in Iraq and Syria.

In two notorious propaganda videos titled “Flames of War,” Khalifa can be seen shooting Syrian soldiers in the back of the head after they dug their own graves. He also narrated the videos.

Khalifa’s defense attorneys had sought a term of just 20 years at Friday’s sentencing hearing in Alexandria, Virginia. They argued that he was less culpable than two British-born Islamic State members — Alexanda Kotey and El Shafee Elsheikh, nicknamed the “Beatles” by their captives — who personally beat and tortured Western hostages. Both Kotey and Elsheikh were convicted in Alexandria — one has received a life sentence and the other is expected to get life when he is formally sentenced next month.

They also argued that it’s wrong for the U.S. to impose such a severe sentence against a Canadian who was not convicted of directly killing or harming any Americans and could have just as easily been extradited to Canada.

Khalifa pleaded guilty last year to terrorism charges. In a letter to U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis written ahead of Friday’s sentencing hearing in Alexandria, Virginia, Khalifa said he felt compelled to help the Syrian people in their revolt against dictator Bashar al-Assad, but that he made a mistake by opting to become a fighter as opposed to joining an aid organization.

“As I followed the events in Syria, I became disgusted with myself for sitting by and not doing something,” he wrote.

According to an FBI affidavit, Khalifa told FBI agents he expected to be sent to an IS training camp when he joined the organization in late 2013. Instead, he was recruited to join the organization’s media department because of his English language skills and spent nearly five years as a leader in their propaganda unit.

Khalifa told agents he was captured in January 2019 when he defied an IS order to flee from advancing forces. Instead, he said, he launched a solo attack of sorts on Syrian Defense Forces, surrendering after his AK-47 rifle jammed.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Protesters gather on the steps of the Utah State Capitol, at a rally to gain support for removing t...
Associated Press

In deeply Mormon Utah, a push to require clergy report abuse

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Survivors and faith leaders rallied Friday at the Utah State Capitol to demand change to a state law that exempts religious leaders from requirements that they report child sexual abuse brought to their attention in spiritual confessions. “If we as a people, as churches and as a state are failing […]
22 hours ago
FILE - The logo of the International Monetary Fund is visible on their building, April 5, 2021, in ...
Associated Press

IMF fees on war-torn countries closer to elimination

WASHINGTON (AP) — The International Monetary Fund is facing pressure to reevaluate how it imposes fees on loans it disperses to needy countries like war-torn Ukraine — which is one of the fund’s biggest borrowers. The move comes as more countries will need to turn to the IMF, as food prices and inflation internationally continues […]
22 hours ago
FILE - Republican candidate for U.S. Senate Leora Levy talks to delegates at the State Republican C...
Associated Press

Far-right wins in blue states threaten GOP hopes in November

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Republicans have found success in Democratic strongholds like Maryland and Massachusetts when they have fielded moderate candidates who could appeal to voters in both parties. With Democrats facing headwinds this year, Republicans had hoped that strategy could pay off yet again. But Republican voters have nominated loyalists of former President Donald […]
22 hours ago
Millaray Huichalaf, a Mapuche machi, or healer and spiritual guide, poses for a portrait in the Pil...
Associated Press

On Chile rivers, Native spirituality and development clash

MELIPEUCO, Chile (AP) — Mist suddenly arose from the Truful Truful River as it flowed below the snow-covered Llaima volcano, and Victor Curin smiled at the sun-dappled water spray. A leader in one of the Indigenous communities by the river’s shores in the Chilean Andes, Curin took it as a sign that the waterfall’s ngen […]
22 hours ago
Millaray Huichalaf, a Mapuche machi, or healer and spiritual guide, poses for a portrait in the Pil...
Associated Press

On Chile rivers, Native spirituality and development clash

MELIPEUCO, Chile (AP) — Mist suddenly arose from the Truful Truful River as it flowed below the snow-covered Llaima volcano, and Victor Curin smiled at the sun-dappled water spray. A leader in one of the Indigenous communities by the river’s shores in the Chilean Andes, Curin took it as a sign that the waterfall’s ngen […]
22 hours ago
Mapuche people take a ceremonial dip in Lake Rupanko during a purification ritual marking We Tripan...
Associated Press

Mapuche solstice ceremonies highlight sacred rivers

ALONG THE PILMAIQUEN RIVER, Chile (AP) — A ceremonial dip in the frigid waters of the fast-flowing Pilmaiquen River in southern Chile was the culmination of the multiday celebration of We Tripantü, one of the most sacred holidays for the Mapuche, the country’s largest Indigenous group. Coinciding with the winter solstice in the Southern Hemisphere, […]
22 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Swedish Cyberknife 900x506...

June is Men’s Health Month: Here’s Why It’s Important To Speak About Your Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men in the United States, on average, die five years earlier than women.
...

Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!
...

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]
...

Compassion International Is Determined to ‘Fill’ a Unique Type of Football ‘Stadium’

Compassion International SPONSORED — During this fall’s football season—and as the pandemic continues to impact the entire globe—one organization has been urging caring individuals to help it “fill” a unique type of “stadium” in order to make a lasting difference in the lives of many. Compassion International’s distinctive Fill the Stadium (FtS, fillthestadium.com) initiative provides […]
...

What are the Strongest, Greenest, Best Windows?

Lake Washington Windows & Doors SPONSORED — Fiberglass windows are an excellent choice for window replacement due to their fundamental strength and durability. There is no other type of window that lasts as long as fiberglass; so why go with anything else? Fiberglass windows are 8x stronger than vinyl, lower maintenance than wood, more thermally […]
US judge gives life term to Canadian ISIS propagandist