- Associated Press - Tuesday, April 18, 2017

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) - Two northern Virginia men have been indicted after authorities charged them with lying to the FBI to protect a friend under investigation for his support of the Islamic State group.

The federal grand jury in Alexandria indicted 28-year-old Michael Queen of Woodbridge and 32-year-old Soufian Amri of Falls Church Tuesday on charges including obstruction of justice and making false statements involving international terrorism.

According to an FBI affidavit, the two were questioned about their friend Haris Qamar last year. The affidavit alleges the two knew Qamar had tried to join the Islamic State in 2014, but denied it to protect him.

Qamar has since been sentenced to 8 years in prison.

Amri’s lawyer, John Zwerling, said that when the FBI questioned his client, they only asked generally if he knew anyone who had voiced support for the Islamic State. Amri did not mention Qamar because he viewed Qamar as something of a blowhard rather than a legitimate threat.

“If they wanted to know about Qamar, they should have asked about Qamar,” Zwerling said.

At a preliminary hearing, Zwerling said charges like this send a bad message to the Muslim community that talking to law enforcement can result in criminal charges.

Queen’s attorney did not respond to an email seeking comment Thursday.

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