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Eye On Boise

Sami’s going home

Federal prosecutors have struck a deal with attorneys for Sami Al-Hussayen: They’ll drop the remaining immigration charges against the University of Idaho graduate student, and he’ll drop his appeal of a deportation order and agree to be deported back home to Saudi Arabia.

“I think he wanted to see the immigration case through as well, and at the end of the day be able to say that he had been completely vindicated,” said David Nevin, Al-Hussayen’s attorney. “It was very clear, however, that this was going to mean waiting around for 6 to 9 months. … It was really time for Sami to be reunited with his family and get on with the rest of his life.”

Al-Hussayen’s wife and three young sons returned to Saudi Arabia earlier, rather than face deportation.

The 34-year-old computer science student was cleared of three terrorism charges and three immigration charges after an eight-week trial, but jurors deadlocked on eight remaining immigration charges, leading to a mistrial on those charges. Prosecutors had charged that Al-Hussayen’s work to maintain Web sites for Islamic groups amounted to aid to terrorists, but jurors disagreed.

Al-Hussayen could head home to Saudi Arabia within two weeks.

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Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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