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Chicago-area detainee faces deportation Nabil al-Marabh

July 17, 2002

Associated Press Writer
Published July 17, 2002

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- A man once portrayed as one of the key people in detention after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks will likely be deported within three months without facing any terrorism charges.
Nabil al-Marabh, 35, who was originally described as having ties to Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida network, pleaded guilty last week to a charge of trying to enter the country illegally in June 2001.

He could get up to eight months in prison. Sentencing was set for Oct. 17, by which time he will have served more than a year awaiting trial.

His attorney, Marianne Mariano, has asked that the sentencing be expedited.

After he is sentenced, al-Marabh will be deported to Syria, where he is a citizen, Assistant U.S. Attorney Marc Gromis said Tuesday.

"We're not prepared at this time to present any evidence regarding possible involvement by al-Marabh in any terrorist activity or terrorist organization," Gromis said.

The prosecutor declined to explain why al-Marabh's legal circumstances have changed.

Last fall, the U.S. government listed al-Marabh among 200 people being sought for questioning after the attacks and, in a court filing in Toronto, Canadian authorities said al-Marabh was "connected to the bin Laden network."

Al-Marabh was arrested in suburban Burbank on Sept. 30, where he was working at a liquor store. After being held in New York for eight months, he was charged in May with various immigration-law violations.

Customs Service officials said they had evidence of financial transactions between him and Raed Hijazi, a cab driver in Boston identified by U.S. authorities as an associate of bin Laden.

Hijazi was later captured in Syria and sentenced to death by a Jordanian court on charges of planning to blow up a hotel filled with Americans and Israelis on New Year's Day 2000.

Copyright © 2002, The Associated Press

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