A US Airforce veteran convicted to join ISIS was given 3 years of prison time as a punishment, this Wednesday. Tairod Pugh, 49-year-old, from Jew Jersey, called the United States agenda racist and Islamophobic. He says that he served his country and he is being repaid by getting his name denounced.
I am a black man. I am a military man. I am a Muslim man. I protected this country and the Constitution. And my service was repaid by dishonoring my name. – Pugh said at his court hearing
Pugh spoke for about half an hour before the judge and kept iterating that he did nothing wrong with the country and he was being punished for merely being black and a Muslim. He said, “I regret that it has taken me so long to understand that my country has become so frightened and racist”.
Pugh was found guilty on federal charges trying to give material support to ISIS, according to US Department of Justice. He was also accused of being an obstruction for he was involved in destroying four portable electronic storage devices after his detention in Turkey. The devices were destroyed so that the investigators might not get insight into the data they contained.
The defendant turned his back on his country, and the military he once served, to attempt to join a brutally violent terrorist organization committed to the slaughter of innocent people throughout the world. – said Acting United States Attorney Bridget Rohde.
However, the jurors said that they had enough evidence to convict him of having an involvement in ISIS. His laptops had videos of ISIS and he was writing some extremist content on Facebook supporting the ISIS. The judge in court said that this wasn’t about being a black man, or Muslim, rather this was about betraying your own country.
Pugh’s attorney told media that he’s going to appeal the court decision. Because he isn’t provided with the justice to prove his innocence.
Prosecutors said that Pugh also bought a one-way ticket to Turkey in 2015 and had planned to cross the Syrian border in order to enter into the state ruled by ISIS. He was detained by Turkish authorities for having a possession of Islamic State Map and Syrian border crossing details. Prosecutors also presented a letter of Pugh addressed to his wife in which he promised to fight for Islam.
Pugh served as an aircraft mechanic from 1986-1990 and later he was an Army contractor in Iraq.