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Israel military court orders release of ex-Ohio imam

[JURIST] A military judge in Israel on Tuesday ordered the release of Imam Fawaz Damra, former leader of Ohio's largest mosque, the Islamic Center of Cleveland [official website], claiming there was insufficient evidence to hold him. Damra's lawyer told AP that the release order came after the court refused to grant a prosecution request to extend his detention. Damra was arrested by Israeli authorities in early January after he was deported to the West Bank via Jordan [JURIST report].

Born in the Palestinian Authority, Damra was indicted [text, PDF] in the US in 2003 on charges of concealing ties to alleged terrorist groups when he applied for US citizenship; he was sentenced [JURIST report] in 2004 by an Ohio district court to two months in federal prison and four months of house arrest. Prosecutors also asked for a revocation of Damra's citizenship, but the judge did not rule on the issue at the time. He was arrested in Ohio in late 2005 as a threat to national security and agreed to deportation in January 2006 rather than face new charges of terrorist ties; the process was delayed [Plain Dealer report] as officials sought a nation to accept Damra. AP has more.

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