Three Men Found Guilty of Conspiring to Join ISIS

In a story that made national news, a federal jury has found three men guilty of plotting to join the terrorist group ISIS and commit murder overseas. Guled Omar, 21, and Mohamed Farah, 22, were found guilty on all charges, while the third man, Abdirahman Daud, 22, was only found guilty on all terror counts, but not of lying to a grand jury. They face life imprisonment.

Back in 2014, it was reported that at least 15 Somali-American men have traveled to Syria from Minnesota to join the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). These three men were amongst nine Minnesota men arrested since 2014 for allegedly plotting with the terrorist group. Six have already pleaded guilty to conspiring to travel to Syria to join ISIS. The family members of the three suspects in this case insist that they are innocent. None of the men have prior criminal convictions, and the Somali community in Minnesota claim that they were just young, impressionable teenagers who were trying to talk ‘tough.’

What Exactly are You Charged With if You Join ISIS?

The current events surrounding terrorist groups in the Middle East are inherently confusing.  There are multiple factors and groups at play. At present, the U.S. Department of State is treating al-Qa’ida in Iraq as synonymous with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), and considers the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) as aliases of ISIL.

Americans can face a variety of criminal charges if they join any terrorist group.

  • If you are an American who has agreed to go overseas to fight with a terrorist group, you are guilty of violating 18 U.S.C. § 956 (Conspiracy to kill, kidnap, maim, or injure persons or damage property in a foreign country). Specifically, it is a federal crime to conspire to kill anyone outside of the U.S., or to destroy U.S. property or property of a government of a U.S. ally. You have committed the crime as long as the conspiracy occurred on U.S. soil. The penalty is life imprisonment.
  • If you are an American abroad who takes hostages for ISIS, you will then face the death penalty under 18 U.S.C. §  1203 (Hostage taking).
  • If you are an American abroad, Federal law still criminalizes placing, discharging, or detonating an explosive device in a place of public use, a state or government facility, or public transportation system under 18 U.S.C. § 2332(f). In order to be prosecuted, you do not have to harm U.S. property.

San Diego Terrorism and Criminal Defense Lawyer

During these times, it is not even wise to joke about any desire to join ISIS. Police will not hesitate to charge you with a terroristic threat or terrorism, even if you did not have the intention of carrying out the threat and becoming a terrorist. Additionally, it is far too easy for those from certain ethnic groups to easily be labeled a terrorist for merely going about their everyday lives. If you  have been falsely accused of being a terrorist, contact the Law Offices of David M. Boertje today. Do not fight these accusations alone.