MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Three young Minnesota terror suspects will not be getting out of jail as they await trial on charges of trying to join the Islamic State.
But U.S. District Judge Michael Davis did leave the door open to alternatives, saying he is interested in programs that could deradicalize the suspects.
The three men are part of a group of seven Minnesota suspects arrested on terror charges earlier this year.
Hamza Ahmed, Zacharia Abdurahman and Hanad Musse were in court Wednesday, when Davis rejected their release plans that included intense community, religious and court supervision.
However, the judge did acknowledge that such release proposals are uncharted territory, as the term deradicalization is extremely controversial.
Davis said he is interested in doing something “on the front end” of this case that might turn these young men around.
“This is way too important for us to treat it as a regular criminal case,” Davis told the defendants.
The judge said he would continue to work with all parties.
Not long ago, Davis signed off on a deradicalization plan in a related case.
He sent Abdullahi Yusuf to a halfway house after he pleaded guilty to terror charges in February.
But Yusuf was sent back to jail in April after a box cutter was found under his bed.
Attorneys for Abdurahman and Musse appeared to take issue with the concept of deradicalization, saying that despite the charges, their clients were not radicalized.
Musse’s attorney, Andrew Birrell, said his client is an American “through and through.”
Outside the court hearing, an imam who has been visiting the suspects in jail said they are not militants.
“I have been visiting them,” Abdisalam Adam said. “I didn’t see any anger, I didn’t see any dislike of this country.”
Sadik Warfa, of the Global Somali Diaspora, expressed support for the judge.
“This is a very important matter,” he said. “The judge is studying this, and we are thankful for the way he is approaching this.”
If Davis does eventually allow any of these young men to be released, it won’t be to their homes. The judge called that option a non-starter.
He said he would reconsider release proposals that would include deradicalization efforts after a motions hearing on Sept. 2.