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Appeals Court hears arguments to defend Somali youth convicted in FBI entrapment case

Appeals Court hears arguments to defend Somali youth convicted in FBI entrapment case

Oral arguments were made before a three-judge panel from the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, June 18, in Saint Paul on behalf of Guled Omar, Mohamed Farah and Abdirahman Daud, who were found guilty of conspiracy to commit murder abroad in 2016.

Their lawyers argued today that the jury instructions were grounds for granting their clients’ appeal. Bruce Nestor, representing Daud, argued to the court that the jury instructions conflated wanting to join ISIS with conspiracy to commit murder and that the prosecution had never proven that his client had any intent to kill.

The court room was packed with members of the defendants’ family and supporters from the Somali community and the anti-war movement. There were so many supporters that an additional overflow room was also filled.

Nestor spoke to the crowd of supporters outside the courthouse afterwards, “I’m really thankful for the community support and for all of you coming out today. And I’m sure that my client is really thankful for that support too. 

Throughout this case it’s my belief based on the law that an injustice has occurred. This occurred with the prosecution and in particular with the sentence that was imposed.” “Whatever was proven in that courtroom was not anything that justified a sentence of 35 years. 

And the government proceeded under a legal theory which you heard us argue today was deeply flawed which allowed someone to be convicted under the most serious offense possible under the law convicted essentially of murder without proving that they really intended to take a human life or that they did take a human life. Mr. Daud was convicted of a thought crime and we are hopeful based on the arguments made today that the court of appeals will reverse the conviction and that we will have an opportunity for some measure of justice in this case.”

The appeals court will take several months to consider their ruling and could possibly rule on it in September.

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