Court upholds conviction of Dayton man who tried to join ISIS

The conviction of a Dayton man found guilty of trying to join ISIS was upheld Thursday by a U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals Thursday.

Laith Waleed Alebbini, 29, was convicted of conspiracy and attempting to provide support or resources to a foreign terrorist organization following a bench trial in December 2018.

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He was sentenced to 15 years in prison and 25 years of supervised release in June 2019.

In his appeal, Alebbini argued the evidence behind his convictions were not sufficient, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. He claimed that the evidence did not show that he entered into any agreement with his cousin, who left Dayton before Alebbini but was arrested upon his arrival in Jordan.

Alebbini also argued that the evidence did not prove that he intended to work under the direction or control of ISIS, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

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The Court of Appeals in turn ruled that information detailing his plans and conversations with a co-conspirator to join and fight the terrorist group did provide sufficient evidence of the conspiracy conviction. The court also stated that sufficient evidence was shown in the second conviction in Alebbini’s research, preparation and sharing his plans with others, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Alebbini was arrested on April 26, 2017, at the Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky International Airport as he was attempting to fly to Turkey and then Syria.

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About an hour before he arrived at the airport, Alebbini’s relatives reportedly asked him not to join ISIS. He responded in three text messages: “Do you think I am a criminal” “I am a terrorist” “I am mujahid," according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Alebbini is citizen of Jordan, but was a permanent U.S. resident living in Dayton when he was arrested. He could be deported once serving his sentence, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office

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