Four men were sentenced in federal court Tuesday for their roles in supporting a Somali terrorist group.
Abdifatah Yusuf Isse and Salah Osman Ahmed both traveled to Somalia in 2007 and spent about a week in an al-Shabab training camp, and later looked to leave after learning more about the group's efforts. Both have been sentenced to three years in prison.
Minneapolis man Omer Abdi Mohamed, who has been characterized as a key recruiter, was handed a 12-year sentence. He pleaded guilty in 2011 to one count of conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists. Eden Prairie High School graduate Ahmed Hussein Mahamud will serve three years in prison. He pleaded guilty in 2012 to conspiracy to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization.
The first of several hearings for a government investigation into support for a Somali terrorist group left two Minnesota men sentenced to 20 and 10 years in federal prison on Monday.
Mahamud Said Omar, 46, and Kamal Said Hassan, 28 are among more than 20 Somali men who left Minneapolis to join terror group al-Shabab in their homeland. A total of nine hearings will be held this week in connection to the investigation.
Omar was indicted on Aug. 20, 2009, and sentenced to 20 years for facilitating the travel of men from Minneapolis to Somalia in 2007 and 2008. On Feb. 18, 2009, Hassan pleaded guilty on two counts of supporting al-Shabab, and on Aug. 12, 2009, he was charged for making false statements tot he FBI. Hassan will serve 10 years.
"Fighting terrorism, whether at home or abroad, remains the number-one priority of the U.S. Department of Justice," U.S. Attorney B. Todd Jones said. "To that end, we must continue to counter violent extremism and radicalization through tough prosecution whenever necessary and education and outreach efforts whenever possible. We need to keep our young people from being recruited and trained by foreign terror organizations, not only because of the threat to themselves and others elsewhere in the world but because of the danger they pose if they return to this country."
Prosecutors say that al-Shabaab has the support of al-Qaida and that the defendants were aware during involvement.
Information from the Star Tribune contributed to this report: http://www.startribune.com/local/207368971.html?page=1&c=y