By Esme Murphy

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A young convicted terrorist will not be going to prison even though he violated conditions of his release.

Abdullahi Yusuf is one of ten young Twin Cities men charged and convicted of trying to join ISIS.

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He flunked a lie detector test last month and admitted watching a documentary about ISIS. He was taken into custody and has been at the Sherburne County Jail ever since.

He was in court Tuesday to plead his case, and was ordered back to his halfway house after being scolded by a Federal Judge Michael Davis for twice watching CNN coverage of ISIS — including a documentary that features unrepentant ISIS sympathizers.

Abdullahi Yusuf (credit: Sherburne Co. Jail)

Yusuf told Davis he did not think watching mainstream news coverage of terror groups would be a violation of his release.

He insists he is no longer moved by ISIS ideology.

“I’d rather believe the tooth fairy than believe that propaganda again,” Yusuf said in court.

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He received the lightest sentence of the ten young men charged in the terror plot: 20 years supervised release.

Others face decades behind bars, and Yusuf’s friend — Abdi Nur — is believed to have died fighting for ISIS in Syria.

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Yusuf once again thanked Judge Davis Tuesday in court.

“You gave me a deal of a lifetime. You gave me a second chance at life and I want to take advantage of that,” Yusuf said.

He will be monitored by not only the staff at his halfway house, but also a mentor and a psychologist.

It’s all part of an effort to see if terror recruits can in fact be de-radicalized, so they will no longer be a threat to society when they get back out on the streets.

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Esme Murphy