MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) - Just weeks before a federal trial was set to begin, one of the Minnesota men accused of planning to join ISIS in Syria suddenly changed his mind and entered a guilty plea. But just before Adnan Farah changed his plea, his own mother collapsed in court and was taken to the hospital.
Judge Michael Davis pushed hard for Adnan Farah to explain what happened, asking him what hooked him and who directed him to Islamic State recruiting videos. The judge wanted to hear the whole story before accepting the guilty plea.
Farah is one of a group of young Somali-Americans from the Twin Cities charged with a conspiracy to join ISIS. His brother, Mohamed Farah, is another, and still awaits trial in early May. Several of the men have already taken a federal plea deal, and a defense attorney for one of those men filed a declaration two weeks ago that said Adnan Farah was planning to plead guilty in September, but that a local imam pressured their families to go to trial.
Adnan Farah, under questioning, told the judge as they got more into religion, they began watching YouTube videos showing Muslims being massacred in Syria -- that he watched at least 100 recruiting videos from ISIS and felt increasingly compelled to help. Farah's defense attorney told Fox 9 he's a good kid who was targeted with powerful propaganda..
"He never left the country. My client would not even know what to do in Syria, in Somalia. He wouldn't even know, he's an American. He's an American kid," said Kenneth Udoibok. "Adults need to take responsibility for what has just happened."
The hearing was delayed because Farah's mother collapsed as it was just about to begin. She did not want him to take the plea deal. Mothers of several of the young men have expressed their frustration, believing their children are victims of the Islamic State's propaganda.
No date has been set for sentencing. The judge wants Farah examined by a de-radicalization expert from Germany who is in town working with others who have already pled guilty.
Status of Minnesota's 10 young ISIS suspects
Zacharia Abdurahman - guilty plea in Sept. 2015, awaiting sentencing
Hamza Ahmed - in custody, awaiting trial on May 9
Abdirahman Daud - in custody, awaiting trial on May 9
Adnan Farah - guilty plea in April 2016, awaiting sentencing
Mohamed Farah - in custody, awaiting trial on May 9
Hanad Musse - guilty plea in Sept. 2015, awaiting sentencing
Abdi Nur - at-large, believed to be with ISIS in Syria
Guled Omar - in custody, awaiting trial on May 9
Abdirizak Warsame - guilty plea in Feb. 2016, awaiting sentencing
Abdullahi Yusuf - guilty plea in Feb. 2015, awaiting sentencing