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Somali community and anti-war activists blast harsh sentences of Omar, Daud and Farah

By Meredith Aby

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On Nov. 16, three Somali American youth were sentenced to decades in prison. Guled Omar was given a prison sentence of 35 years and Abdirahman Daud and Mohamed Farah were each given sentences of 30 years in prison by Judge Davis in what the mainstream media has called the ‘ISIS trial.’

Omar, Daud and Farah were convicted by an all white jury on June 3, for conspiracy to commit murder in a foreign country, material support for terrorism and other charges. During the trial, it was established that the FBI’s paid informants created and funded a ‘conspiracy’ that entrapped a group of teenage friends in a plot to join ISIS and go to Syria. Even though no members of this group of friends went to Syria or fought for ISIS, they were arrested and portrayed as ‘terrorists’ by the prosecution and mainstream media.

More than 100 members of the Somali community and anti-war activists gathered outside the U.S. Federal Courthouse after the sentencing to protest against the Department of Justice’s investigation of the Somali community and the treatment of the community as suspected terrorists.

Burhan Mohumed, a Somali American activist with Minnesotans Against Islamophobia, reacted to the verdict, “His [the judge’s] only job was to enforce the law, not to condemn a whole community. I don’t know if that man voted for Trump, but I know he is pushing that philosophy of fear and hate. For him to convict those boys to 30 years when he knows they didn’t do anything – they were just thinking about it. We need to rally for justice because people like [Judge] Davis and the system he protects don’t serve justice and they never will.”

Jess Sundin, a spokesperson with the MN Anti-War Committee, explained, “As an anti-war activist, I know that the U.S. government will stop at nothing to justify its wars abroad. This travesty of justice show us the lengths they will go to right here at home. It doesn’t matter that these young men hated the Syrian regime as much as the U.S. government does. It doesn’t matter that the U.S. government has in fact bombed markets, wedding parties, funeral processions, even hospitals, in its pursuit of its aims abroad. Don’t listen to the Donald Trumps and Fox News of the world – we know that the country’s most dangerous terrorists are not here in Minneapolis, they work at the Pentagon!”

Mick Kelly, of the Committee to Stop FBI Repression, denounced repression against the Somali, Muslim and Arab communities and urged people to attend the Nov. 29 Detroit, Michigan court hearing for Palestinian American leader Rasmea Odeh.

Ayan Farah, the mother of Mohamed Farah, spoke to the crowd and said, “These boys got 30 and 35 years. That’s not even the verdict that murderers get.” She thanked the crowd for their support through this trial.

Earlier in the week, Judge Davis sentenced the other six defendants. As a reward for testifying against their friends and for cooperating with the FBI, the judge gave time already served with 20 years supervised release to Abdullahi Yusuf and sentenced Abdirizak Warsame to 30 months in prison. Three of the defendants had pleaded guilty but did not help the prosecution. Defendants Zacharia Abdurahman got 10 years in prison, Hamza Ahmed got 15 years in prison, Hanad Musse got 10 years in prison and Adnan Farah got 10 years in prison. All of the defendants are young men are between 20 and 22 years old.

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