An Iraqi-born man living in California has pleaded not guilty to a federal charge that he lied to investigators about traveling to Syria two years ago to fight against the government there.

Aws Mohammed Younis Al-Jayab faces up to eight years in prison if he's convicted.

Prosecutors and defense attorney Ben Galloway say Al-Jayab never planned attacks in the United States.

The Sacramento Bee reports ( ) that Galloway complained at Friday's brief hearing that his 23-year-old client is suffering because he is being held in isolation. He is allowed out of his cell briefly every few days to shower and call his family and attorney.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Kendall Newman told Galloway to talk to jail officials and the U.S. Marshals Service.

Al-Jayab's next court date is March 17.