Minnesota Resident Gets 10-Year Sentence for ISIS Affiliation, Prosecutors Took This Decision

Minnesota Resident Gets 10-Year Sentence for ISIS Affiliation, Prosecutors Took This Decision

Minneapolis, Minnesota – A Minnesota man who became radicalized and later fought for the Islamic State organization in Syria cried and expressed regret in front of the court on Thursday while receiving a 10-year federal prison sentence.

Before Thursday’s hearing, Abelhamid Al-Madioum, 27, complied with federal authorities, which prosecutors took into consideration while recommending a sentence that was less than the 20-year maximum stipulated by law.

U.S. District Judge Ann Montgomery described Al-Madioum’s case as “extraordinary” out of all the cases she has presided over in her forty years on the bench. She mentioned his perplexing journey from a loving Minnesotan family to one of the most infamous terror groups in the world, as well as his later cooperation with the government he betrayed.

Al-Madioum thanked the US government for granting him another chance as he stood to speak before being jailed. He then went to speak about his parents and his two young sons, who were transported to America with the assistance of federal authorities after being taken from an orphanage in Syria.

Minnesota Resident Gets 10-Year Sentence for ISIS Affiliation, Prosecutors Took This Decision

FILE – This image provided by the Sherburne County Jail in Elk River, Minn./image: conchovalleyhomepage

Fighting back tears, Al-Madioum continued, “I know I put you through so much, and I did with the belief that it was my religious duty.” “That is not a justification. You should have been my top priority.

Al-Madioum, a naturalized citizen of the United States, was one of many Minnesotans suspected of joining the Islamic State organization along with thousands of militants from other nations. It is estimated that about thirty individuals fled Minnesota to join extremist organizations in Syria or Somalia. Nine Minnesota males who were accused of planning to join IS at the federal level received sentences in 2016.


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However, Al-Madioum is among the very small number of Americans who fought for the group and were repatriated to the United States. He is one of 11 adults who, as of 2023, will be legally repatriated to the United States from the battle in Syria and Iraq to face charges for terrorist-related offenses and claimed ties with the Islamic State (IS), according to a defense sentencing brief. Others were sentenced to four years in prison or life plus seventy years.

The prosecution had requested a 12-year sentence, claiming that Al-Madioum’s suffering did not lessen the seriousness of his actions. Al-Madioum, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew Winter, self-radicalized online and assisted IS, commonly known as ISIS, in achieving its objectives.

According to Winter, “young men like him all over the world… allowed ISIS to flourish.”

The lawyer for Al-Madioum, Manvir Atwal, asked for a seven-year term. She claimed that a well-oiled propaganda machine had taken in Al-Madioum when he was a young, naive teenager. Prosecutors verified that he had aided the authorities in past terrorism cases and had long since forsaken radical ideas.

Montgomery chose a 10-year sentence after considering sentencing guidelines in conjunction with Al-Madioum’s cooperation and letters—among them one from an unidentified former U.S. ambassador—in his favor. According to Atwal, he may be eligible for credit for the more than five years he has already served.

According to the defense letter, Al-Madioum was raised in a devoted and nonreligious family in the Minneapolis neighborhood of St. Louis Park. He joined IS in order to aid Muslims who he thought were being massacred by the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad during that nation’s civil conflict. He was convinced “to test his faith and become a real Muslim” by IS recruiters.

In 2014, at the age of 18, Al-Madioum was recruited by IS. In 2015, the college student absconded from his family while visiting their home country of Morocco. He traveled to Syria and joined the IS as a soldier before suffering injuries from an explosion in Iraq. His arm needed to be amputated, and his leg was completely broken. Unable to fight, he helped the group by using his computer talents.

He married two women and had children while he was still an IS member.

He had believed that their daughter and his second wife had passed away. Al-Madioum, however, stated in court on Thursday that he had heard there’s a chance she and their daughter could still be alive. Atwal stated that further research is being done on that topic.

The defense claimed that in 2019, Al-Madioum’s first wife passed away in his arms after being shot in front of him by either IS fighters or rebel forces. Al-Madioum said in court that he buried her after excavating a trench.

He went for a walk with his sons the day after the shooting and turned himself in to the Syrian Democratic Forces, which were led by Kurds. He was detained for eighteen months in conditions the defense called “heinous” before the FBI brought him back to the United States.

In 2021, he entered a guilty plea for giving material assistance to a group that has been designated as terrorist. At the end of what he and Montgomery described as a remarkable effort by U.S. diplomats and other officials, his sons were discovered in a Syrian orphanage.

After they landed in America, custody of Al-sons Madioum’s was granted to his parents. Thursday, while seated in the gallery of the court, his two sons, who are seven and nine years old, sat on their grandparents’ laps and grinned at their father.

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