Illinois man to appeal 15-year sentence in terrorism case

November 11, 2017

CHICAGO (AP) — Lawyers for a suburban Chicago man have notified an appellate court they intend to appeal his 15-year prison term for seeking to join an al-Qaida-linked group in Syria.

Attorneys for Abdella Ahmad Tounisi (too-NEE’-see) filed the notice Thursday with the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. They’ll submit a full appeal later.

Judge Samuel Der-Yeghiayan (YAY’-gee-yahn) last month imposed the maximum sentence available for a terrorist-related conviction. He said he would have given the 23-year-old more time if he could.

Defense attorneys argued Tounisi was motivated foremost by a desire to help Syrians fighting President Bashar Assad’s repressive regime. They asked for a seven-year sentence.

Prosecutors asked for 15 years. But prosecutor Barry Jonas sounded conciliatory at sentencing, saying he accepted Tounisi was remorseful and the judge could consider that.

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