Six Minnesota men convicted of plotting to join the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) will be in court next month to hear findings from a de-radicalization expert who was hired to evaluate their cases.
Daniel Koehler, director of the German Institute on Radicalization and De-radicalization Studies, will testify about his reports during all-day hearings on Sept. 20 and 21 in Minneapolis.
U.S. District Judge Michael Davis contracted with Koehler as part of a new “terrorism disengagement and de-radicalization program” because he wanted additional information about the defendants before sentencing them.
Prosecutors and the defendants — Abdullahi Yusuf, Zacharia Abdurahman, Hanad Musse, Abdirizak Warsame, Adnan Farah and Hamza Ahmed — will also be allowed to question Koehler on the stand during the hearings.
Davis asked Koehler to compile reports that would analyze the defendants’ “risk of re-offending and stage of radicalization,” and give a prognosis for chances of successful intervention and de-radicalization.
Koehler interviewed the defendants and those close to them as part of his assessment.
The men, who pleaded guilty, are among 10 charged in the case; three others contested their charges at trial and were found guilty by a federal jury in June; and another, Abdi Nur, was charged in absentia after making it to Syria to join ISIL.
The three convicted at trial — Abdirahman Daud, Mohamed Farah and Guled Omar — later asked to be assessed by Koehler. Davis denied the requests, saying they would undergo the same evaluation, conducted by U.S. Probation and Pretrial Services staff who had been trained by Koehler.
Earlier this month, Davis also asked the Department of Justice to report on sentences issued to defendants in similar terror-recruitment cases nationwide. Sentencing for the Minnesota nine is expected in late fall or early winter, back-to-back over consecutive days.