MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) - The final three of the nine Minnesota men accused of trying to join ISIS were sentenced in federal court Wednesday. The three men were convicted in May of conspiring to join ISIS and were each sentenced to 30 years or more in prison. Earlier this week, the other six men who pled guilty to trying to join ISIS received sentences ranging from time served to 15 years in prison.
Mohamed Farah received the full 30-year sentence and lifetime supervised release recommend by prosecutors. Farah was convicted in May of conspiracy to provide material support to a terror group and conspiracy to commit murder outside the United States. He was also charged with perjury.
In federal court on Wednesday, Farah said his group started with the good intention of helping Syria, but they went “down a road that no one expected.”
“I stand before you today disavowing the Islamic State,” Farah told the court. “They don’t stand for justice, they ensue chaos.”
Farah said he wants others in the community to learn from his experience and those of the other ISIS recruits.
“I want to tell them if what you’re doing is something you have to hide, then it is wrong,” Farah said.
After handing down the sentence, Judge Michael Davis had a few final words for Farah.
“The litany of things that you did, the lies that you told, should be published,” Davis said. “So there’s no doubt about what happened here. But, it won’t be. You’ll be a victim, a victim of the system.”
Farah made a gesture to the gallery on his way out of the courtroom, which the prosecutors believed to represent support of ISIS. Court resumed shortly after because prosecutors wanted the gesture to be put on the record in case of an appeal.
Abdirahman Daud was sentenced to 30 years in prison, but did not receive the lifetime of supervised release recommended by the prosecutors. Like Farah, Daud was convicted of conspiracy to provide material support to a terror group, conspiracy to commit murder outside the U.S. and perjury.
Daud was emotional in court on Wednesday, telling Judge Davis, “I just blindly followed everything that was told to me.”
The prosecutor noted for the record that Daud also turned to the gallery and raised a single finger, allegedly a symbol of support for ISIS, as he left the courtroom.
Guled Omar received the harshest sentence of all nine defendants. He was sentenced to 35 years in prison, five years less than what the prosecutors recommended. He also received lifetime supervised release.
Omar was in tears when he addressed the judge in court on Wednesday.
“That was an ugly path,” Omar said. “That was a horrible path and I don’t want to return to it.”
Others in court were also sobbing and had to leave the room.
Judge Davis told Omar, “You’re a charismatic guy and that’s why you’re being locked up for the period of time that you are.”
U.S. District Attorney Andrew Luger statement
“ISIL remains one of the most dangerous terror organizations in the world. The defendants sentenced today remind us that this ideology ruins the lives of those who ascribe to it. Omar, Daud and Farah will spend the next several decades in prison because of their unbreakable desire to kill on behalf of ISIL. I commend the agents and officers of the FBI-led JTTF for continuing to keep Minnesotans safe.”
“The sentences handed down today reflect the true gravity of the defendants' crimes to betray their country, travel overseas, and ultimately join a terrorist organization dedicated to the murder of innocent people,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge for the Minneapolis Division Richard T. Thornton. “We hope these sentences will serve as a strong message that those who support terrorism will face justice. The FBI, through our Joint Terrorism Task Force, remains dedicated to working with our community partners to disrupt threats posed by ISIL and their supporters.”
“This case -- culminating in the sentencings of nine young men in the last three days -- demonstrates our commitment to disrupting those who would conspire to travel to Syria to fight with ISIL,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General McCord. “Counterterrorism is the National Security Division’s highest priority, and we will continue to work to stem the flow of foreign fighters abroad and to bring to justice those who seek to provide material support to designated foreign terrorist organizations.”
The following is a list of recommendations and the sentences received, pertaining to each defendant:
Mohamed Abdihamid Farah: Prosecution requested 30 years in prison and lifetime of supervised release. Judge sentenced Farah to 30 years in prison and a lifetime of supervised release.
Abdirahman Yasin Daud: Prosecution requested 30 years in prison, lifetime of supervised release. Judge sentenced Daud to 30 years in prison.
Guled Omar: Prosecutors requested 40 years in prison. Defense requested 15 years. Judge sentenced Omar to 35 years in prison and a lifetime of supervised release.
Hanad Mustafe Musse: Prosecution requested 15 years imprisonment, and lifetime of supervised release. Defense requested 72 months. Judge sentenced Musse to 10 years in prison.
Adnan Abdihamid Farah: Prosecution requested 15 years imprisonment and lifetime of supervised release. Judge sentenced Farah to 10 years in prison.
Hamza Naj Ahmed: Prosecution requested 15 years of imprisonment and lifetime of supervised release. Defense requested half-way house, also has motion to seal sentencing report. Judge sentenced Ahmed to 15 years in prison.
Zacharia Yusuf Abdurahman: Prosecution requested 15 years prison and lifetime of supervised release. Judge sentenced Abdurahmanto 10 years in prison, plus 20 years of supervised release.
Abdirizak Mohamed Warsame: A cooperating defendant, prosecutors recommended 54 months in prison. Judge sentenced Warsame to 30 months in prison, plus 20 years of supervised release.
Abdullahi Mohamed Yusuf: A cooperating defendant, prosecutors recommended 42 months in prison. Judge sentenced Yusuf to time served, plus 20 years of supervised release.