Skip to main content

9 to be sentenced in Minneapolis in Somali terror case


Sentencing is expected this week in a U.S. District Court in Minneapolis for nine Somali Americans from Minnesota convicted in a government probe of terror recruitment and financing for a group in Somalia linked to al-Qaida, the Associated Press reports.

The sentencings would mark a closing chapter in a long and complex case dating to 2007, when small groups of young Somali men began holding secret meetings in Minnesota to plot a return to Somalia to wage jihad against Ethiopians, the AP reports.

More than 20 young men have left Minnesota to join al-Shabab in the last six years, officials say. Some have died, several are still being sought by authorities, and others have been prosecuted in what the FBI has said is one of the largest efforts to recruit U.S. fighters to a foreign terrorist organization, the AP notes.

Three days of hearings are expected this week in front of U.S. District Judge Michael Davis to determine the fate of the nine men, the Star Tribune reports.

Prosecutors say the nine defendants are recruiters, supporters and participants in Al-Shabab, and the U.S. attorney’s office is recommending sentences ranging from five to 50 years, the Star Tribune reports.

Lawyers for the men say their clients are not terrorists, and they argue that the men got caught up in a patriotic effort to defend their homeland against invading Ethiopian troops. The men did not realize until too late that Al-Shabab’s actions had devolved into atrocities, their lawyers say.

The Star Tribune has an at-a-glance timeline of events in the case.

Next Up

MPD missing Heard - crop 1_

Police ask for public's help finding Mpls. woman missing a week

The 36-year-old hasn't been seen or heard from recently.

unsplash cold winter breath dark

Hello, winter: List of the coldest wind chills in MN Monday morning

The state went from a relatively mild start of the season, to downright frigid wind chills.


1 CWD-positive deer in Brainerd Lakes area, so surveillance will continue

The CWD monitoring measures were supposed to end after this year.

unsplash - visitor patient doctor hospital emergency - crop

MN program will train, hire 1,000 nursing assistants for long-term care

The facilities are facing a severe staffing shortage.

Minnesota State Fair - main gate day 2021

Minnesota State Fair reestablishes a police department

The fair had been contracting with the Ramsey County Sheriff's Office.

teacher, covid, masks, school

Minnetonka to consider removing middle school mask requirement

The school board has been impressed by vaccination rates among middle school students.

snow, plow

Friday winter storm could hit Twin Cities, southern Minnesota

Meteorologist Sven Sundgaard is already monitoring the forecast.

Sauk Rapids Middle School street view, Minnesota - November 2018_

Teen student arrested for threats toward MN middle school

The Sauk Rapids middle school and high school were closed Monday.


Rally for trans child outed during Hastings school board race draws big crowd

Hastings has been in the spotlight since the child's family was featured in a CNN story.

chad davis arradondo flickr

Minneapolis police chief Medaria Arradondo to retire next month

He's overseen the MPD since mid-2017, following the killing of Justine Ruszczyk Damond


Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Monday, December 6

The latest from the state health department.


'Minneapolis, we're coming!!!': Foo Fighters announce rescheduled concert

The previously announced Huntington Bank Stadium was cancelled.


Feds on verge of plea bargain in Somali terrorism case

A lawyer for Ahmed Hussein Mahamud says a plea agreement is in the works. Mahamud is among 20 people who have been charged with helping the Somali terrorist group al-Shabaab.