Two Minnesotans who were charged in connection with an FBI investigation into local support for the Somali terror group Al-Shabab in 2014 finally have sentencing dates.
On Monday, Judge Michael Davis set Feb. 21 sentencings for Amina Mohamud Esse and Madhi Hussein Furreh, nearly three years after they were charged with conspiring to provide material support to a terror organization and lying to federal agents, respectively.
Esse’s case was first made public last summer, before she testified against two former co-conspirators at a federal bench trial in Virginia. She quickly began helping the FBI identify other Al-Shabab supporters after her arrest and admitted in a closed courtroom in November 2014 to sending roughly $850 overseas as part of a network of women raising funds for Al-Shabab fighters.
Furreh pleaded guilty shortly after being charged with lying to federal agents about his contact with Cabdulaahi Ahmed Faarax, a Minnesota man who is at large and accused of encouraging local Somalis to join Al-Shabab. Furreh traveled to Kenya in 2013 and kept in touch with Faarax before and during his trip, according to Furreh’s indictment.
Both Esse and Furreh have been free as they await sentencing. Davis canceled a scheduled June 2015 sentencing for Furreh, noting only that it would be rescheduled “in the near future.”
In position pleadings filed in March 2015, attorney Manny Atwal said Furreh “did all he could to get back to the United States” after a “harsh awakening of the terror” that is Al-Shabab. Atwal said Furreh had been “swayed by videos and propaganda” at a time of hopelessness after his wife left him and took their children in early 2013. “He thought he had nothing in the United States. He started to become intrigued by the allure of a new life as others placed ideas in his head,” Atwal said.
A spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office in Minneapolis declined to comment on the cases.