Minnesota Somali-American ordered held for trial on charges of trying to help Islamic State

Reuters News
|
Posted: Jun 11, 2015 9:12 PM

MINNEAPOLIS (Reuters) - A federal judge in Minnesota ordered on Thursday that a Somali-American man remain in custody pending trial on charges of conspiring to support Islamic State and lying to federal agents.

Mohamed Farah, 21, who was born in Minneapolis and was a full-time college student before his arrest in April, was one of six men charged as a group in April with conspiring to support Islamic State militants.

U.S. District Judge Michael Davis ruled that Farah was a flight risk and danger to the community, despite the defense's contention he had no criminal record or history of violence and that the case against him was weak.

Farah, whose brother Adnan Farah is among the defendants previously ordered held until trial, tried twice to leave the United States to join Islamic State militants in Syria and told a federal informant he would attack agents if cornered, prosecutors said.

In November, Farah and three other men went to New York from Minneapolis by bus, but were stopped from taking international flights and returned to Minnesota, according to prosecutors.

Farah and co-defendant Abdurahman Yasin Daud, 21, were arrested in April after driving to California in an attempt to go to Mexico and make their way to Syria, while four others were arrested in Minnesota, prosecutors said.

Davis ordered Daud held until trial at a detention hearing in May. Zacharia Yusuf Abdurahman, 19, Farah's brother Adnan, 19, Hanad Mustafe Musse, 19, and Guled Ali Omar, 20, were arrested in Minnesota and ordered held after separate hearings.

All six are friends or relatives with connections to other men who have tried or succeeded in going overseas to join Islamic State or al Shabaab, a militant group based in Somalia.

(Reporting by David Bailey; Editing by Peter Cooney)