Accessibility links

Breaking News

Prosecutors Seek Maximum Sentence in Chicago Terrorism Case

FILE - Family members of Abdella Ahmad Tounisi, including his father Ahmad Tounisi, center, leave the Dirksen Federal Building in Chicago, April 23, 2013.

Prosecutors want the maximum 15-year prison term for a young Chicago-area man who sought to join an al-Qaida-linked group fighting Bashar al-Assad's regime in Syria.

They requested the sentence in a court filing Thursday for Abdella Ahmad Tounisi, who was 18 when arrested in an FBI internet sting in 2013. He has pleaded guilty to attempting to offer material support to foreign terrorists.

Tounisi's lawyers want a seven-year term. They say their client felt isolated as a Muslim in the U.S. and that his decision to travel to Syria reflected his immaturity. They insist he's tried to change since then.

Prosecutors say Tounisi persisted even after a friend was arrested on terrorism charges in 2012, and after relatives expressed concern about his interest in Syria.