MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - A Minnesota man convicted of conspiring to join the Islamic State group is being allowed to return to a halfway house after he was re-arrested last month for watching a news documentary on terrorism.
A federal judge on Tuesday decided Abdullahi Mohamud Yusuf violated terms of his release when he watched a CNN documentary about the Islamic State group.
But the judge allowed the 21-year-old to return to a halfway house instead of prison, telling Yusuf he needs to continue to work on reforming himself
Yusuf was among nine Minnesota men sentenced last year for conspiring to join the militant group in Syria. Yusuf cooperated with prosecutors and was sentenced to time served and 20 years of supervised release.
Under conditions of his release, he isn't allowed to watch extremist material.
According to court documents, back in April, Yusuf failed a polygraph test and admitted to viewing the CNN documentary "Behind the Mask" on a TV in the common area of the halfway house.
The US Probation Office report called into question whether the film violated the condition of his probation that states he is to "not possess, view, or access material regarding extremist/terroristic views."
On Tuesday, Manny Atwal, Yusuf's Attorney, and Andrew Winter with the US Attorney's Office called witnesses to the stand, including Yusuf's probation officer Eric Hermes, and Yusuf himself.
Hermes said that Yusuf is doing well with his intensive treatment and described what the staff at the halfway house told him about Yusuf viewing the CNN documentary.
Yusuf talked about how disappointed he was about failing the polygraph. He said he's working hard to run away from his past and that it disgusts him that he even would consider joining ISIL.
Yusuf told U.S. District Judge Michael Davis he didn't know a news program was a violation.
After testimony, the judge decided Yusuf did violate his probation by watching the documentary.
The judge also emphasized that if he violates his probation again, he will likely send Yusuf to prison.
Back in November, Judge Davis sentenced Yusuf to 20 years supervised release. At the time the judge said the prison system has no programs to rehabilitate potential terrorists and that quote "we will lose that opportunity, however small, to help this kid."
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