INS Arrests Al-Najjar, Tied to Terror Groups; Plans to Deport Him

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Byline: Joyce Howard Price

The U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service yesterday arrested Mazen Al-Najjar, whom the government described as having "established ties to terrorist organizations," in Tampa, Fla.

"The arrest is based on a final order of deportation recently upheld by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit in Atlanta, Ga. Al-Najjar was ordered deported because he "violated his visa and was ineligible for any form of relief from deportation," the Justice Department said in a statement.

Al-Najjar entered the United States from Gaza in 1981 and overstayed his student visa. A former instructor at the University of South Florida, he was jailed for more than three years after U.S. authorities accused him of supporting terrorist groups.

The evidence was kept secret for reasons of national security. Last December, Attorney General Janet Reno ordered him released from jail, after a federal judge in Miami ruled that he had been denied due process because the government did not share the classified evidence with him.

In its statement yesterday, the Justice Department said Al-Najjar "held leadership positions in the Tampa-based Islamic Concern Project (ICP) and the World and Islam Studies Enterprise. …