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Florida terror case co-defendant deported

[JURIST] Sameeh Hammoudeh, a co-defendant in a Florida terrorism case with former University of South Florida computer science professor Sami Al-Arian [advocacy website; JURIST report], was deported earlier this week, according to Hammoudeh's attorney. Federal officials took Hammoudeh to his home state of Jordan on Tuesday, where he crossed the border into the West Bank. A former teaching assistant and Ph.D. candidate at USF, Hammoudeh was acquitted [JURIST report] on charges of raising money for the Palestinian Islamic Jihad [CDI backgrounder] because jurors believed there was not enough evidence for a conviction. Though Hammoudeh was acquitted in December, immigration officials continued to hold him, prompting Hammoudeh's attorney to sue the government to expedite his deportation. A US Department of Immigration and Customs Enforcement [official website] spokesman explained that ICE held Hammoudeh in part because they needed to organize documents for the deportation.

Al-Arian, though acquitted on eight of 17 terrorism charges [JURIST report], later pleaded guilty [JURIST report] to a lesser charge of conspiring to provide material support to a terrorist organization and be deported. Earlier this month a Florida federal court sentenced Al-Arian to 18 more months [JURIST report] in prison for the guilty plea, crediting him for time already served, before he too will be deported. AP has more.

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