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Federal judge orders cleric to leave country for lying to FBI about New York subway plot

[JURIST] A judge for the US District Court for the Eastern District of New York [official website] on Thursday ordered Imam Ahmad Afzali [NYT profile] to leave the country within 90 days. Afzali pleaded guilty [JURIST report] in March to lying to FBI agents in connection with the investigation of a plot to detonate explosives in the New York City subway system. Judge Frederic Block ordered electronic surveillance of Afzali until he leaves the country. Afzali will serve no prison sentence for the crime, but will be deported to Afghanistan if he does not comply with the order to leave the country voluntarily.

Afzali's case stems from his role as a police informant in an investigation of Najibullah Zazi [JURIST news archive], who pleaded guilty [JURIST report] in February to terrorism charges for planning the subway attacks. Afzali has admitted to telling Zazi that the FBI was investigating him, but later denying the fact to the FBI. Also in February, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website] announced superseding indictments [JURIST report] against Adis Mendunjanin and Zaerein Ahmedzay, two other men accused of planning to bomb subways in New York City. Mendunjanin previously pleaded not guilty [JURIST report] to similar charges.

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