Judge orders release of convicted bomber on immigration charge

AP/NY Times:

A Middle Eastern man jailed for nearly four years must be released by June 8 because the government, which wants to deport him, has taken too long to find a country that will take him, a federal judge has ruled.

The judge, Jerome Barry Friedman of Federal District Court here, said in an order issued on Friday that the government violated the constitutional rights of the man, Majed T. Hajbeh, and that he must be released within 14 days.

“The court finds it difficult to conceive how his continued confinement remains reasonable,” Judge Friedman wrote. “There is no significant likelihood of removal in the reasonably foreseeable future.”

Mr. Hajbeh was arrested and detained in 2003 in a sweep of people suspected of immigration violations. An immigration judge ordered him deported, reasoning that Mr. Hajbeh entered incorrect information on papers when entering the United States in 1993. Mr. Hajbeh said he had made a mistake and checked “single” instead of “married.”

The judge did not take into account that Mr. Hajbeh had been acquitted in federal court of a criminal charge of falsifying the document.

The government first tried to deport Mr. Hajbeh to Jordan, where he was convicted in absentia in 1999 of plotting several bombings. The Jordanian government later overturned the convictions of his co-defendants, but Mr. Hajbeh’s stands because he has never returned to Jordan.


The deportation order was suspended because of evidence that Mr. Hajbeh would face torture if returned to Jordan.

Lawyers for the federal government said officials had been trying to get Israel to take Mr. Hajbeh, a Palestinian by birth who was raised in Jordan. Mr. Hajbeh was a soil engineer before his detention. He had been living in Woodbridge, Va., with his wife and seven children.

Let's see, this guy has a wife and seven children and was confused about whether he was married? On top of that, he is concerned about being tortured if he goes back to Jordon, even though his co-defendants had their convictions over turned by Jordon? His release does not make me feel safer nor does it give me much confidence in the enforcement of our immigration laws.


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