Four men – including one Minnesotan – have been sentenced for attempting to overthrow the Gambian government in 2014.
However, 47-year-old Papa Faal of Brooklyn Center won't be going to prison. He's been sentenced to "time served" and two years of supervised release, the Star Tribune reports.
Last year, the Minnesota man pleaded guilty to the charges and admitted to buying eight semi-automatic weapons and shipping them to the West African country in barrels. Faal was convicted of conspiring to violate the Neutrality Act – which makes it illegal to fight against a county the U.S. is at peace with – and for conspiring to smuggle firearms.
The coup attempt was ultimately unsuccessful.
According to the charges, about a dozen co-conspirers – armed with weapons – traveled to Gambia to overthrow President Yahya Jammeh. The plan was to replace the controversial leader with one of the conspirers, Cherno Njie of Texas, NBC News reports. But guards shot at the men when they approached the State House.
The charges say several of the people were injured or killed. Those who survived fled and returned to the U.S.
The three other men sentenced will be serving some prison time. They are the ones who led the effort, the Attorney's Office says.
Cherno Njie, 58, of Texas will go to prison for a year. Alagie Barrow, 43, of Tennessee will serve six months in prison. Banke Manneh, 43, of Georgia will also serve six months.
Those sentences are all significantly shorter than what the Federal Sentencing Guidelines called for. The Star Tribune reported that the guidelines were 51-63 months in prison and a hefty fine.
Faal previously said he was motivated by concern that elections in his homeland were being rigged, and the “plight of the Gambian people.”
NBC News says the Gambian president has been called one of the world's most oppressive dictators. The source says he's been accused of illegally executing hundreds and oppressing homosexuals.