CHICAGO – 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 filed the notice Thursday with the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. They’ll submit a full appeal later.
Judge Samuel Der-Yeghiayan 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.