Minnesota Judge Begins Sentencing in Islamic State Case

Two of nine men have received their sentencing

A federal judge in Minnesota, this week, will sentence nine men who were convicted of plotting to join the Islamic State group in Syria.

The men are to be sentenced in groups of three Monday through Wednesday. Prosecutors are seeking just a few years for defendants who cooperated with them and as many as 40 years for those who didn’t.

A Minnesota man, Abdullahi Mohamed Yusuf is the first of the nine men to be sentenced in Minneapolis this week in the plot. The 20-year-old pleaded guilty more than a year ago of conspiring to provide material support to the Islamic State group, and testified against some of the others.

U.S. District Judge Michael Davis sentenced Yusuf to the 21 months he’s already served in jail, plus 20 years of supervised release. Davis said it didn’t make sense to send Yusuf to prison because the government would miss a chance to help him.

Yusuf promised the judge he wouldn’t let him down.

Prosecutors had asked for 42 months, but U.S. Attorney, Andy Luger praised Yusuf for his cooperation and said he accepted his sentence.

The second man in the conspiracy, Abdirizak Warsame, has been sentenced to two years in prison.

Warsame told District Judge Michael Davis that he was manipulated, but Davis told Warsame he didn’t buy his claims that he was no longer radical, and felt his cooperation with authorities was a matter of convenience. 

Warsame had sought 18 months, while prosecutors asked for 4 years.

The third man, Zacaria Abdurahman has received the harshest sentence so far. Abdurahman received 10 years in prison, and while he pleaded guilty, he did not cooperate with the government against the other members of what Davis called a “terrorist cell.”

When asked why he chose not to cooperate, he said he wasn’t willing to testify against his former friends, saying he’s a man of principal.

Prosecutors sought a 15-year sentence; Davis told the defendant he was giving his less partly because his parents have become active int eh campaign against terrorist recruiting in Minnesota’s large Somali community.

Six other men awaiting sentencing for the conspiracy that prosecutors said began in spring of 2014.

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