MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) - Defense attorneys representing three Minnesota men facing federal terrorism charges, brought up a mysterious figure long associated with the case, who was first profiled by the FOX 9 Investigators.
All three defense attorneys asked about Amir Meshal, 32, while questioning the prosecution’s star witness, Abdullahi Yusuf, who is one of six former defendants who are now cooperating witnesses.
Yusuf testified that up to 30 young men, including many of those previously indicted, would meet Meshal at mosques in Bloomington and Minneapolis, which have since banned him, and at Meshal’s former home in Eden Prairie.
Yusuf said Meshal was closest to Abdi Nur, who left Minnesota to fight for ISIS in Syria, and encouraged others via social media and direct messages to follow his path.
Under cross examination, Yusuf said Meshal once praised the men who three years ago killed a British soldier on the streets of South London, calling them “lions.” Yusuf said Meshal was so religiously radical that the young men thought he might’ve been an FBI informant trying to entrap them.
In fact, according to court documents, the FBI tried to make Meshal an informant in 2007, when he was arrested leaving an Al Qaeda training camp in Somalia. Meshal was held in rendition for three months in secret prisons overseas. He was released without charges in New Jersey, eventually moving to Minnesota where he has relatives.
Meshal is on Homeland Security’s “No-Fly List,” because according to a Homeland Security letter filed in court, Meshal “represents a threat of conducting a violent act of terrorism” and is “operationally capable of doing so.”
In May of 2015, the FOX 9 Investigators revealed Meshal was getting his Class A Commercial Drivers License, allowing him to drive semis and tankers. He got the license in September of 2015, along with a certificate allowing him to drive school buses.
Upon re-direct, federal prosecutors suggested Meshal played no direct role in ISIS recruitment. Yusuf said Meshal was part of a religious studies group, but that it was separate from the ISIS recruitment.
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