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Sami Al-Arian To Be Deported

Posted: April 17, 2006

Former professor Sami Al-Arian, who was acquitted on terrorism charges late last year, will be deported rather than face a new trial. 


Al-Arian, a Palestinian born in Kuwait, has reached an agreement with prosecutors to plead guilty to a charge of conspiring to "make or receive contributions of funds, goods or services to or for the benefit of" a terrorist organization and be deported from the United States, according to an attorney involved in the negotiations. The agreement was approved by a federal judge on April 17, 2006.


Al-Arian and three co-defendants were arrested in 2003 and charged with providing money and support to the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.  Al-Arian has remained in prison since last December, when a federal jury in Tampa, Florida, found him not guilty on eight charges and failed to reach a verdict on nine others.  He will spend about 18 more months in jail before he's deported.


Al-Arian, a computer engineering professor at the University of South Florida from 1986 until his arrest in 2003, will also receive a sentence approximately equal to the time he has served since he was arrested. The remaining terrorism-related charges will likely be dismissed as part of the agreement.  

It is not clear where the government will deport Al-Arian. He has lived in the United States for 30 years and holds permanent residency status. His five children were born in the United States and are American citizens. His own bid to become a United States citizen was denied in 1996.

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