By Nate Raymond
NEW YORK (Reuters) – A New York City teenager accused last year of conspiring to provide support to Islamic State was sentenced on Tuesday to 20 months in prison after pleading guilty to a non-terrorism charge.
Imran Rabbani, 19, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Margo Brodie in Brooklyn after pleading guilty in April to having conspired to impede federal officers by force, intimidation and threat.
Rabbani, who was just 17 when he was arrested, agreed to the plea deal in exchange for dropping an appeal of a ruling that allowed him to be tried as an adult on a prior charge of conspiring to provide material support to Islamic State.
Rabbani, who will receive credit for the time he has served in custody since his June 2015 arrest, was also sentenced to a term of three years of supervised release following his release.
“I think it was a fair and just sentence by a thoughtful and careful judge,” said his lawyer, Richard Willstatter.
More than 100 people have been charged since 2014 in U.S. federal cases related to the Islamic State militant group, which has seized control of parts of Iraq and Syria.
Rabbani was one of six young men in New York and New Jersey charged in 2015 in the investigation of a group of alleged Islamic State supporters.
Those individuals included Munther Omar Saleh, a student at a college in the borough of Queens, who prosecutors say obtained instructions to build a pressure cooker bomb and planned to carry out an attack.
Prosecutors in court papers said Rabbani repeatedly met with Saleh and “espoused support for violent Islamic extremist ideology.”
He also had withdrawn an abnormal amount of cash, according to prosecutors, who said the bomb-making instructions in Saleh’s possession advised buying materials with cash.
In June 2015, law enforcement officials were following Saleh and Rabbani when the two got out of their vehicle and ran at the agents’ surveillance vehicle, prompting their arrest, prosecutors said.
Rabbini denies being an Islamic State supporter. In a letter to Brodie, he said he had made a mistake by hanging around someone who “would lavish hate with so called ‘reason’ and present it as such.”
Saleh has pleaded not guilty. Four other men have also been charged in connection with the investigation, including three men in New Jersey who have pleaded guilty to conspiring to provide material support to Islamic State.
(Reporting by Nate Raymond in New York; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)