MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A federal judge presiding over the case of five men accused of plotting to join the Islamic State group says he won't dismiss the most serious charge against them.
The men face counts including conspiracy to commit murder outside the United States. Defense attorneys tried to get that count dismissed, arguing that since the Islamic State group engages in combat, its members should have combatant immunity.
The doctrine of combatant immunity protects soldiers from being prosecuted for lawful acts committed during war.
Judge Michael Davis says the doctrine doesn't apply because the group is a designated terrorist organization and the men are charged in the context of terrorist activities.
The men are friends in Minnesota's Somali community who prosecutors say planned to go to Syria. They face trial in May.