MN Protests Federal Entrapment of 3 Somali Youth

MN Protests Federal Entrapment of 3 Somali Youth

When: Thursday, May 26th @ 5:00pm

Where: Outside US Federal Courthouse, 300 S 4th Street, Minneapolis

As  the prosecution winds down and we start to hear from the defense in the case against Guled Omar, Abdirahman Daud, and Mohamed Farah, three young Somali men entrapped by the FBI, the Coalition to Defend the Muslim Community has called for a Thursday rally outside the federal courthouse. The rally aims to support the three men’s families who continue to be outspoken in the face of government repression and amplify voices against FBI entrapment, the targeting of Muslim youth under the banner of the Dept of Homeland Security’s Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) program for US Attorney Lugar’s political gain, the criminalization of the Somali community as a whole that fuels rising xenophobia and Islamophobia among the public, and broadly against US policies of war that continue to foment conflict in the Middle East and East Africa.

This week began with cross-examination of Abdirahman Bashir, the FBI informant who turned against his friends in return for $119,000, the removal of his father from the no fly list, and much lower risk of prosecution for material support for terrorism and perjury which Bashir has admitted to openly. His testimony revealed a manufactured plot by the FBI to entrap the three defendants now facing potential life sentences and six other young men who plead guilty and face up to 15 years. Under the FBI’s direction, Bashir provided contacts to ISIL, arranged fake passports and the purchase of Daud’s car by the FBI, promoted acts of violence in Syria, and berated anyone who questioned his plan. The government’s case rests on audio recordings and transcripts prepared by Bashir who also provided translation advice. Those in the courtroom can attest that much of this audio is unintelligible. In a display of the absurd lengths the government is willing to go, following Bashir’s testimony the court heard from Lakeville paintball facility manager whose work site the government claims was used for “terrorist training.” The witness stated these young men looked like “a bunch of kids playing.” The government will rest its case after the final cooperating witness Abdirizak Warsame, offered the potential for a reduced sentence in exchange for his testimony, finishes cross examination and we hear briefly from three more prosecution witnesses.

This Thursday’s rally will feature speeches from family members, community members from the anti-war movement and movement for justice for victims of police killings, and members of the local Somali community. Speakers will share reflections concerning this week’s happenings in the courtroom, the lives of the defendants prior to their entrapment, and about the fear based climate of racism, xenophobia, and Islamophobia this case continues to fuel. One theme expected to arise from speakers is how the US government funds the criminalization of oppressed communities, while neglecting basic needs and community programs unless further surveillance and divide and conquer tactics can be covertly used. Speakers will attest to the central role FBI entrapment plays in such criminalization, both historically and today.

The Coalition to Defend the Muslim Community includes both community groups and organizations, namely the Anti-War Committee, Minnesotans against Islamophobia, the Global Somali Diaspora, among others. For more information on the case, please follow twitter handle @MnEntrappdYouth.