Montgomery, Alabama – On Thursday, September 17, 2020, Nayef Amjad Qashou, a 26-year-old man residing in Auburn, Alabama, was sentenced to 57 months in prison for making false statements to the FBI during a terrorism investigation, announced United States Attorney Louis V. Franklin, Sr. and FBI Special Agent in Charge James Jewell. There is no parole in the federal system.
According to court documents and statements made in open court, a few years prior to 2018, the FBI began to monitor Qashou after they received tips concerning some erratic behavior that indicated he might have an interest in joining ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria). Then, on September 26, 2018, Qashou was interviewed by agents and task force officers from the FBI who suspected that he was sharing videos supporting international terrorism. During the interview, Qashou admitted to compiling and distributing what he called “educational” videos relating to Islam. However, he told agents that he only compiled 37 videos and he misrepresented the nature and content of the videos. As the investigation continued, agents discovered that Qashou distributed some 115 videos to other individuals and that the videos consisted of ISIS propaganda. Ultimately, Qashou admitted he knowingly lied about the number and content of the videos in order to protect individuals depicted in them and to impede the investigation into his actions. It was also revealed during the sentencing hearing that Qashou had previously traveled to Jordan and attempted to cross into Syria to join ISIS, but he was prevented from doing so by Jordanian officials.
After completing his prison sentence, Qashou will serve three years of supervised release. During that time he will be subject to a number of special conditions imposed by the judge, to include participation in a mental health treatment program and monitoring of his computer and electronic device usage by the United States Probation Office.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) investigated this case, with assistance from the Auburn Police Division. Assistant United States Attorneys Joshua Wendell and Robert Nichols prosecuted the case.