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01 December 2023

Jail for US teen who wanted to fight in Syria

Attorney Robert Pepin, the public defender for defendant Shannon Conley, speaks with members of the media following Conley's sentencing hearing, at the U.S. Federal Courthouse, in Denver, Friday Jan. 23, 2015. Shannon Conley, a 19-year-old suburban Denver woman, was sentenced to four years in prison for trying to help the so-called Islamic State militant group in Syria, under a plea deal that requires her to help authorities find others with the same intentions. (AP


A US court on Friday jailed a Colorado teenager intercepted by the FBI when she attempted to join her fiance to fight in Syria.

Shannon Conley, 19, will serve four years in prison for providing and attempting to provide material support and resources to IS fighters and other groups including Al-Qaeda, the US justice department said.

Conley, who struck a plea bargain with prosecutors, had expressed a desire to wage violent jihad after meeting a man on the Internet who claimed to be an active member of IS in Syria.

The duo got engaged and worked together to have Conley travel to Syria to join her new fiance.

Before going, Conley trained to be able to fight and even joined the US Army Explorers (USAE) to be learn about military tactics and firearms. She also had first-aid training.

FBI special agents met her several times to persuade her not to carry out her plans to travel overseas to fight but she refused to listen and was arrested when she attempted to board a flight to Turkey from Denver on April 8.

A search of Conley's home revealed books and articles about terrorist groups.

"The defendant in this case got lucky," said US Attorney John Walsh.

"The FBI arrested her after determining that she had been radicalized and planned to travel to Syria to support the brutal foreign terrorist organizations operating there.

"Had she succeeded in her plan to get to Syria, she would likely have been brutalized, killed or sent back to the United States to commit other crimes."

After prison, Conley will have three years on supervised release, followed by 100 hours community service.