A Somali refugee who attempted to join ISIS before his arrest, in connection with a sweeping FBI probe of ISIS recruitments in Minnesota, will be allowed back into society.
Abdullahi Yusuf, 21, one of nine men arrested in the probe, was granted supervised release from a federal halfway house by a Minneapolis federal judge on Thursday.
After attempting to join the terror group, Yusuf has now been allowed to leave prison, and, accompanied by his parents, return to their Burnsville home after three years in custody.
“We’re just very glad to meet again our son,” Sadiik Yusuf, the father, said. “We will be ready to help him.”
Fox News reports that Yusuf was arrested on May 28, 2014, just after turning 18, as he tried to board a plane from Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport to Istanbul, Turkey. Six months later, he was charged with conspiring to provide material support to a foreign terror group.
After cooperating with federal authorities during the investigation, Yusuf becomes the first of the nine co-defendants to be eligible for release. According to the Star Tribune, he will be “under intense federal supervision.” Yusuf has been held at a halfway house since his sentencing in November 2016, when he was sentenced to time served, after having been detained for almost two years.
Senior U.S. District Judge Michael Davis, who oversaw the ISIS recruitment trial in Minneapolis, “closely question[ed] both the young man and officials from the U.S. Probation and Pretrial Services office in Minnesota. As part of his sentence, Yusuf must remain under supervision for 20 years,” the Tribune reports.
According to Eric Hermes, Yusuf’s probation officer, Yusuf became a role model for other residents, earning his high school diploma and participating in community service activities. He’s also attended counseling sessions and “continues to set goals for himself as he moves forward,” Hermes testified in court Thursday.
Yusuf will reportedly testify against three former friends. His “extensive cooperation led to a substantially lesser sentence,” but the judge was sure to remind him of the difficulties he’ll face.
“Are you ready to come out? You understand that you’re going to have a lot of difficulties. You’re going to be ostracized by your own community, at least a certain part of it. You understand that?” Yusuf was asked.
“Yes, your honor,” he replied.
Yusuf is subject to a number of restrictions, including:
- a ban against having a social media account
- a ban against accessing materials related to extremism
- internet use, which will be monitored
- his movements, which will be tracked via GPS for one year
- contact with journalists outside of Judge Davis’ permission
The Tribune reports:
Federal agents and prosecutors in Minnesota have taken an interest in Yusuf’s rehabilitation, occasionally visiting him over the past year and sharing books with him. The federal prosecutors who led the government’s case raised no objections to Yusuf’s release on Thursday.
“Is there anything in the government’s eyes that through their investigation … he should not be released?” Davis asked.
“No, your honor, none whatsoever,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney John Docherty.
ISIS pledge, Abdullahi Yusuf, arrested trying to board a flight from Mpls to Istanbul to help eliminate Christians, is released back into Burnsville community…with promise to ‘try to stay away’ from extremist materials online… https://t.co/V6fItgmxfb
— Minn News Report (@MinnNewsReport) November 11, 2017
Muslim Convicted of Terrorism Released From Halfway House: Really now, is this justice? Abdullahi Yusuf, a Minnesota man convicted in 2015 of terrorism-related charges, has been released from a halfway house. https://t.co/uka8VBzgUA AtlasShrugs pic.twitter.com/Y2YruaZhjj
— Jewish Community (@JComm_BlogFeeds) November 10, 2017
ofccadjust RT NatashaFatah: Minnesota man Abdullahi Yusuf convicted in ISIS recruiting case wins release https://t.co/dG1Zg1dild
— ADORABLE🌟DEPLORABLE (@GoldStarMomTX55) November 10, 2017