Man In Terror Trial Back In Jail After Watching Documentary On ISIS

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A local man who pleaded guilty to helping ISIS is back in jail after violating terms of his release.

Abdullahi Yusuf, 21, is accused of lying about and watching a CNN documentary on ISIS.

Yusuf was one of 10 young Twin Cities men charged in one of the largest U.S. terror cases since 9/11.

He was recently arrested because he was not supposed to watch anything that “reflects extremist or terroristic views.” In the CNN documentary, a young Belgian ISIS supporter does just that over and over again.

According to a federal judge, Yusuf also flunked a lie detector test.

Of the 10 young Twin Cities men charged in the sweeping terror case, Yusuf received the most lenient sentence: 20 years of supervised release in return for his cooperation and testimony against his former friends, one of whom, Abdi Nur, made it to Syria and is believed to have died fighting for ISIS.

Yusuf is the centerpiece of an unprecedented effort to see if young terror recruits can be deracialized. Last year, German deradicalization expert Daniel Kohler was even brought in to evaluate him and some of the others.

Kohler’s testimony supported a lighter sentence for Yusuf.

While some of his co-defendants are facing decades behind bars, Yusuf was sent to a halfway house where he has been able to finish his high school education.

But in April, according to Judge Michael Davis, he flunked a polygraph. He later admitted to watching the CNN documentary, Behind the Mask, which profiles an unrepentant Belgian ISIS supporter, who, like Yusuf, had been sentenced to supervised release.

In that documentary, the ISIS sympathizer is asked if he would have killed someone if ISIS leaders had asked him to do so. He replies, “It’s Islamic law.”

Yusuf was in court Monday. The hearing is slated to continue Tuesday.

Yusuf’s attorney had asked that his defendant be sent back to the halfway house. However, the judge ordered him back to jail, saying he is a danger to the community.

More from Esme Murphy
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