A Pakistani doctor, employed in the United States on an H-1B visa, has been handed an 18-year prison sentence after being found guilty of attempting to provide support to the terrorist organization ISIS and plotting “lone wolf” attacks within the country. The individual in question, Muhammad Masood, aged 31, received his sentencing on Friday. He will spend 18 years in prison, followed by five years of supervised release, for his involvement in attempting to offer material assistance to ISIS, as disclosed in an official statement from the Department of Justice.
Having pleaded guilty in August of the previous year, Masood faced sentencing under the oversight of Senior Judge Paul A. Magnuson.
As per court records, Masood held a valid medical license in Pakistan and had previously worked as a research coordinator at a medical clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, while holding an H-1B visa.
During the span between January 2020 and March 2020, Masood employed an encrypted messaging app to orchestrate his journey abroad, with the intent of joining a terrorist group. His communications during this time period consistently revealed his aspiration to affiliate with the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham (ISIS), along with pledging allegiance to both the organization and its leader.
Furthermore, Masood openly expressed his intentions to carry out independent terrorist attacks within the United States. His actions culminated in February 2020 when he purchased a plane ticket from Chicago, Illinois, to Amman, Jordan, with the intention of eventually reaching Syria. However, his travel plans were foiled in March of that year as the Jordanian borders were closed in response to the global coronavirus pandemic.
Undeterred, Masood then opted to travel from Minneapolis to Los Angeles, aiming to meet an individual he believed would aid his voyage to an ISIS-controlled area via cargo ship.
Embarking on his journey from Rochester to Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP), Masood checked in for his flight at MSP, only to be apprehended by the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force upon his arrival.