Student gets 15 for making YouTube terror video
An Egyptian engineering student was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment Thursday after pleading guilty to uploading a 12-minute YouTube video that showed how to convert a remote-control toy car into a bomb detonator.
In June, Ahmed Abdellatif Sherif Mohamed, 27, pleaded guilty in a Florida federal court to one count of providing material support to terrorists.
U.S. District Judge Steven D. Merryday said the public needed to be protected from 27-year-old Mohamed, who made the video “to empower others through his teaching to deliver death, destruction and, at the very least, panic.”
Mohamed and fellow Egyptian Youssef Megahed were arrested in August 2007 when their car was stopped for speeding in South Carolina. The video, with Mohamed’s voice in Arabic, was found on a laptop computer in the car. Both were students at the University of South Florida in Tampa at the time.
Prosecutor Robert Monk said the 12-minute clip got nearly 800 hits before it was removed from the video-sharing site, but there was no evidence that anyone used it to do harm.
Megahed is awaiting trial on federal charges of transporting explosives and possession of a destructive device. The 22-year-old was not charged in connection with the video and says he didn’t know anything about the items in the trunk.
Explosives charges against Mohamed were dropped as part of the plea agreement.
Prosecutors have not produced any evidence showing the men planned illegal activity. The men said they ended up near a naval weapons station looking for cheap gas at a Wal-Mart station.