MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — On Thursday, another young Minnesota terror suspect pleaded guilty to being part of a conspiracy to join ISIS.
Abdirizak Warsame, 20, also provided testimony against five other men scheduled to go to trial in May.
Warsame says that all members of the group planned for more than a year to become ISIS fighters, and that they knew that would involve killing people. He also said he and the others wanted to join ISIS because they believed they were fighting to help oppressed Muslims.
He also provided rare insight into how the group of ten young friends in their late teens became radicalized.
He testified that it was ISIS propaganda videos found on YouTube that first captivated the group.
Warsame testified that it was a video that showed people from all over the world flocking to join the Islamic State that first captivated him.
He then began watching videos of Anwar al-Awlaki, the notorious American cleric who was killed in a CIA drone strike in 2011.
Under questioning from Judge Michael Davis, Warsame gave detailed testimony of how the group of ten friends plotted for more than a year to make it to Syria and become ISIS fighters.
Warsame is the fourth member of the group to plead guilty. Five others are scheduled to go to trial in May and face possible life sentences.
His testimony directly implicated those five. One member of the group, Abdi Nur, made it to Syria.
The mother of Abdirahman Daud was emotional after Thursday’s proceedings, and suggested through an interpreter that Warsame’s testimony had been coerced.
“She is very upset because her son’s name was mentioned today,” interpreter Farhiyo Mohamed said.
But two community leaders praised the guilty plea, and said Warsame’s mother played a key role.
“The mother was very, very happy, although it was very painful that her son cooperated and that he came clean,” Abdi Bihi said.
Warsame faces a sentence of up to 15 years as the result of his guilty plea.
He and the three others who have pleaded guilty are expected to testify at the trial of the five others.
At a court hearing earlier Thursday, attorneys for four of the five men indicated they have been involved in on-going plea talks with prosecutors.