The legal context of the missing Somalis case

Ralph Boelter and B. Todd Jones
Ralph Boelter, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Minnesota, North and South Dakotaand B. Todd Jones, U.S. Attorney for the District of Minnesota spoke Monday at a press conference about charges related to Somali men believed to have left Minnesota to fight in their homeland.
MPR Photo/Tim Nelson

There are now 14 people with connections to Minnesota charged with terrorism-related crimes. Many lived here for some amount of time, some allegedly recruited fellow Somalis to return to the fighting in their home country.

One of those alleged recruiters -- Omer Abdi Mohamed -- pleaded "not guilty" Tuesday to charges he helped send young men from Minnesota to join the hard-line Islamic group, al-Shabaab.

Most of the other indicted men are not in custody. When the FBI laid out its case against eight more people on Monday, officials said they doesn't know where most of the accused men are right now.

To get some legal context about the case, Tom Crann talked with John Radsan, a professor at William Mitchell College of Law, and director of the National Security Forum in Minneapolis. He was also an assistant general counsel at the CIA until 2004.

Radsan said that locating the missing men will be difficult, but that they could be found in another country and extradited back to the United States to face charges.

Radsan also said FBI officials are concerned that alleged recruitment efforts coul d pose a threat to national security because recruited fighters could also be convinced to carry out illegal activities in the United States.

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