MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A jury has found three Minneapolis men guilty of trying to join ISIS Friday afternoon.
United States Attorney Andy Luger says they were not wayward kids who were misled by a friend: they made a deliberate decision to join the terrorist organization.
Jurors found Guled Omar and Mohamed Farah guilty on all counts, including trying to provide support to a terrorist organization.
They found Abdirahman Daud guilty of three of four counts. They say he did not lie under oath to the grand jury.
In a driving rain in downtown Minneapolis, the mother and two sisters of Daud left the courthouse sobbing. They stood surrounded by family and friends looking shell shocked at the verdicts.
The families’ spokesperson, Sadik Warfa, expressed their anguish.
“The families right now, they’re grieving and they want home,” Warfa said. “And they told me to convey this message that they will appeal.”
Luger insists the verdicts were just.
“The evidence is overwhelming that the defendants knew exactly what they were doing, and that is that they were trying to become terrorists, bound and determined to kill for ISIL,” Luger said.
The case is one of the most sweeping terrorism cases in U.S. history. A total of ten young Twin Cities men were indicted.
In addition to the three defendants convicted Friday, six others pleaded guilty. The tenth, Abi Nur — who graduated from Minneapolis’ Southwest High School in 2013 — made it to Syria and is widely believed to have died fighting last year for ISIS.
But testimony in the trial revealed new information about other Minnesota recruits, including Hanad Mohallim from Burnsville and Mohamed Roble from Minneapolis. Roble used his settlement from the 35W bridge collapse to finance his trip to Syria. Both are believed to have died fighting in ISIS battles.
After the verdicts, the attorney for Farah said his client was holding up as well as could be expected, and that the defense team was expecting acquittals on the most serious charge of conspiracy to commit murder.
“Look at the actions of the other co-defendants that testified against our clients and others that plead guilty. There isn’t much of a difference between what other people have done and what my client has alleged to have done,” attorney Murad Mohammad said. “And for that reason we are disappointed.”
The testimony by three members of the conspiracy, including Abdirahman Bashir — who had been payed $119,000 for secretly recording his friends — inflamed tensions throughout the trial.
Luger called the resulting threats against families and ejections from the courthouse “unheard of.”
But he left his strongest words for the friends and families of the defendants, and the people who he said call themselves community leaders but continue to deny that terror recruiting exists in Minnesota.