Calif. Imam, son agree to deportations to Pakistan
By Michael Kahn
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – A Muslim imam and his son
arrested amid a terrorism probe focused on their Northern
California farming town agreed on Friday to be deported to
Pakistan on immigration violations.
During a brief court hearing, Mohammad Adil Khan and his
son Mohammad Hassan Adil agreed through a Urdu-language
translator to the deportations after the U.S. government
withdrew a number of charges against them.
Government prosecutors did not detail the charges but the
men’s lawyer Saad Ahmad described them as visa violations.
Their lawyer said the pair had nothing to do with the
federal criminal probe focused on the town of Lodi.
In that case, authorities have charged a different father
and son with lying during a government probe into their alleged
ties to al Qaeda training camps in Pakistan.
“If my clients were terrorists they would not be allowed to
leave voluntarily,” said Ahmad, who expected the men would be
sent home to Pakistan within the next two weeks.
Adil Khan worked as an imam at a Lodi mosque after coming
Lawyer Ahmad added that his clients, who were both shackled
during the 15-minute hearing, decided not to fight the charges
in part because the father had heart problems. The father came
to the United States in 2001 and the son in 2003, both on
religious worker visas, Ahmad said.
Their arrest and deportation stems from a probe that led to
federal charges against Umer Hayat and his son Hamid for lying
to investigators probing their alleged links to al Qaeda.
That indictment charged Hamid Hayat with one count of
falsely stating he was not involved with a terrorist
organization and another count of lying about attending
terrorist or jihadist training camps. His father was charged
with falsely stating his son had not attended such camps.
According to an FBI affidavit, the younger Hayat later told
agents he attended an al Qaeda training camp in Pakistan for
about six months in 2003 and 2004.
The judge in that case on Friday agreed with the
government’s request to delay an Aug. 23 trial date for the two
men to allow more time to gather documents and evidence.