Virginia Man Gets Prison Time For Spying On Protestors Against Syria

syriaSyrian protests

Photo: Flickr/FreedomHouse

A Virginia man was sentenced Friday to 18 months behind bars on charges he collected video and audio recordings for Syrian intelligence agencies about people protesting the Syrian government.Mohamad Anas Haitham Soueid, 48, recruited people living in the U.S. to record dozens of protests against the Syrian government, as well as supplied the government with contact information for its biggest critics, the Department of Justice said Friday.

He also provided the government with details about who was financing the opposition movement, the movement’s future plans, and information about protests and meetings, according to the Justice Department.

“Mr. Soueid betrayed this country to work on behalf of a state sponsor of terror,” U.S. Attorney Neil MacBride said in a written statement. “While the autocratic Syrian regime killed, kidnapped, intimidated and silenced thousands of its own citizens, Mr. Soueid spearheaded efforts to identify and intimidate those protesting against the Syrian government in the United States.”

The FBI narrowed in on Soueid after he allegedly wrote a letter in April 2011 to a Syrian official expressing his support for violence against dissidents. He also allegedly accepted a laptop from the Syrian government, which he used to spy on people.

Soueid, a naturalized U.S. citizen born in Syria, ultimately pleaded guilty to six counts of acting as an agent for a foreign country, The Wall Street Journal’s Law Blog reported Friday.

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