MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – There is now a trial date for seven Minnesota men accused of plotting to join ISIS.
Supporters and family members packed a court hearing Wednesday and the judge once again ruled that, at least for now, none of the seven would be released from jail to halfway houses.
The trial for the seven men, who range in age from 19 to 21, will begin next February.
The informant in this case is a friend of the seven men who prosecutors admit was part of the plot before becoming an FBI informant.
So far, the informant has been paid $41,000 by the FBI, a fact that has outraged the defendants’ family and friends.
The confidential informant was a close friend of the seven men, but they did not know was he was secretly recording their conversations for the FBI.
The latest damaging recording revealed in court quotes Zacharia Abdurahman as saying, “ISIS is amazing” and telling the informant he “desir[ed] to achieve martyrdom.”
Abdurahman’s attorney argued Abdurahman “is not radicalized” and that “he is redeemable.”
Supporters of the young men insist they were set up and manipulated by the informant.
“The families believe the informant was leading these young men,” said Sadik Warfa, a director of the Global Somali Diaspora “He was leading them to do things.”
At the hearing, details emerged of how the FBI had tracked the seven for months.
An FBI agent testified that last November, when four of the defendants traveled to JFK airport to try and fly out of the country, federal officials scrambled to put them on the no fly list and kept the four from getting on planes with what prosecutors say was an eventual destination of fighting for ISIS in Syria.
Supporters warn against a rush to judgement.
“We have hope that justice will prevail and that more evidence will be coming that will help the case,” imam Hassan Mohamud said.
The judge agreed to the eventual release of information about the informant to the defense.
He also denied motions by two defendants who argued there was less evidence against them and that they should be tried separately.