Minnesota ISIS recruit admits, 'Yes, I was a terrorist' at sentencing

- Three Minnesota ISIS recruits admitted to being terrorists in federal court Tuesday morning before receiving prison sentences of 15 and 10 years. On Monday, three defendants who entered guilty pleas and cooperated with prosecutors received sentences ranging from time served to 10 years.


Hamza Ahmed received the full 15-year prison sentence recommended by prosecutors. Ahmed pled guilty in April, just before 3co-conspirators went to trial.

Judge Michael Davis noted that Ahmed’s posts on Twitter were among the most violent of this group. Ahmed agreed, and admitted to buying-in to the ISIS agenda.

“Yes, I was a terrorist,” Ahmed said. “I was a believer in their ideology. I was committed to it.”

Ahmed said he is “trying every day” to change, but said it wouldn’t be a quick or easy process.

“I want you to understand I haven’t completely changed,” Ahmed said. “Nobody changes overnight, that’s not realistic.”


Hanad Musse was sentenced to 10 years in prison, slightly less than the 15 years prosecutors sought. He pled guilty in September 2015.

“I’m not a hero, I’ve committed a serious offense,” Musse told the court. “Please stay away from terrorism and condemn it.”

Before handing down the sentence, Judge Davis asked Musse, “Sir, are you a terrorist or not?” Musse replied, “I am a terrorist your honor.”

According to court documents, Hamza Ahmed and Hanad Musse traveled from Minneapolis to New York City on a Greyhound bus in November 2014. They were stopped before boarding a flight to Istanbul. 


Adnan Farah was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison. His older brother, Mohamed, who was found guilty at trial, has his sentencing Wednesday.

Before he sentenced Farah, Judge Davis had his parents come forward to let them know he recognizes the difficulty of having two sons headed to prison. He asked how Farah’s mother was doing – a question alluding to her collapse in court prior to last April’s plea hearing.

“Whatever anger you may have about him being here, he is alive,” Judge Davis said. “Do you understand?”

Unlike his co-defendants, Farah never attempted to travel to Syria, but he was allegedly involved in the conspiracy to obtain false passports to travel to Syria. Farah changed his plea to guilty in April 2016, just before 3 defendants went to trial.

Sentencing breakdown

The nine defendants are facing a wide range of sentences. The three men who were convicted of trying to join ISIS could get between 30 or 40 years in prison. Four others who pled guilty are facing a recommended sentence of 15 years in prison. The U.S. Attorney’s Office is suggesting about four years in prison for the two men who cooperated with prosecutors.

Sentencing hearings have been set for Nov. 14, Nov. 15 and Nov. 16. The following is a list of recommendations, pertaining to each defendant:

Mohamed Abdihamid Farah: Prosecution requested 30 years in prison and lifetime of supervised release.

Abdirahman Yasin Daud:  Prosecution requested 30 years in prison, lifetime of supervised release.

Guled Omar:  Prosecutors requested 40 years in prison. Defense requested 15 years.

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.

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