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Trial continues for 3 Somali youth entrapped by the FBI

By Jess Sundin |
May 16, 2016
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Rally in front of Mpls Federal Building demands justice for 3 Somali youth
Rally in front of Minneapolis Federal Building demands justice for 3 Somali youth entrapped by FBI (Fight Back! News/Staff)

Minneapolis, MN - Week two of the trial of three Somali youth will open May 16, with the continued testimony of Abdullahi Mohamud Yusuf. Yusuf was the first star witness for prosecutors aiming to convict three of his former friends of terrorism conspiracy charges. According to Yusuf, he planned to travel to Syria and join ISIL in 2014, but was stopped at the airport by FBI Special Agent John Thomas. Yusuf plead guilty in the case, hoping to receive a lighter sentence in exchange for his testimony against Guled Omar, Abdirahman Daud and Mohamad Farah. Yusuf testified to several meetings with the three, though none of them were with him the day he set out for Syria.

Earlier in the trial, observers spent a day and a half listening to the testimony of Charles Lister, the government’s expert witness on ISIS. Most were frustrated – his remarks had nothing to do with the actions of the young men on trial, and many questioned his qualifications. One Somali observer said that Lister knew “maybe 30%” of what he was talking about with regard to Islam, and several pointed out that he didn’t speak even rudimentary Arabic. Many were concerned that his testimony would only confuse or bore the jury, presuming most are unfamiliar with the topics he discussed.

Supporters have been in the court each day of the trial, and will continue to be there. The Anti-War Committee and other organizers are asking people who can attend court to sign-up at http://goo.gl/forms/L4isRyTYIz. They also plan to have a presence outside the courtroom each morning from 8 to 8:30 a.m. and on Thursdays at 5:00.

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