By AMY FORLITI
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- A man who admitted he lied before a grand jury investigating why young Somali men were leaving Minnesota to join a terrorist group in their homeland was sentenced Thursday to two years in prison.
Adarus Abdulle Ali pleaded guilty in 2009 to one count of perjury. He admitted he lied when he said he didn't know two men who had returned to Somalia to join al-Shabab.
Since 2007, more than 20 men have left Minnesota to join the al-Qaida-linked group.
Ali faced a maximum of five years in prison.
In addition to his prison term, Chief U.S. District Judge Michael Davis also sentenced Ali to 100 hours of community service upon his release. Davis said Ali is articulate and remorseful, and he recommended that Ali could spend those hours speaking to other young Minnesota Somalis and trying to convince them not to make the same mistakes.
"We need you and others to speak out; speak out about what is wrong and what is right," he said.
"They will listen to you," Davis later added.
Prosecutors said that even though Ali didn't go to Somalia to fight, his perjury came while the community was in crisis and it hampered people's understanding of what was happening.
Ali is among nine people being sentenced this week in the government's long-running investigations into terror recruiting and financing. Two women convicted of sending money to al-Shabab are also being sentenced Thursday.