Lindh Meeting Leads to Terror Convict’s Return to Prison


Ali Shukri Amin, a northern Virgina resident, has been sent back to prison for a year after violating the terms of his release from a previous sentence for terrorism charges. As a teenager, Amin plead guilty in 2015 to helping the Islamic State group by using social media to support them and also assisting a classmate to travel to Syria to join the Islamic State. The terms of his release forbade him from establishing contact with known extremists, yet he nonetheless met with convicted Taliban supporter John Walker Lindh and others linked to terrorism.

In court papers filed last week, prosecutors revealed that Amin and Lindh were communicating in encrypted chats as recently as January. Amin had even offered to introduce Lindh to Ahmad Musa Jibril, an Arab American Islamic preacher and ex-convict whom the FBI considers an extremist. Furthermore, Amin had set up a Linux operating system to prevent the probation office from monitoring his online communications and was using it to educate others on how to elude law enforcement.

Lindh himself was previously captured in Afghanistan in the weeks after the 9-11 attacks in 2001, fighting with Taliban forces against the U.S.-backed Northern Alliance. After reaching a plea deal, he was sentenced to 20 years in prison and was released from custody in 2019.

Amin’s lawyer, Jessica Carmichael, argued against the two-year prison sentence sought by the prosecutors and instead pleaded for a lesser sentence of 60 days. She noted that the condition banning association with “extremists” were also impermissibly vague and that there was also a case to be made for Lindh violating his terms by meeting with Amin.

Amin is now facing a lifetime of supervised release after serving his prison term, with strict restrictions applied on his internet usage and contact with those linked to terrorism. Such cases are rare in the federal courts, highlighting the importance of keeping long-term surveillance and strict regulations on those convicted of such serious offences.