US deports man after push for indefinite detention stalls

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (AP) — A man convicted of terrorism-related crimes, who served his sentence and was then detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, has been deported after a legal battle to hold him indefinitely stalled.

Federal authorities held Adham Amin Hassoun at a federal detention facility in Batavia, New York, since his release from prison in 2018 in order to deport him. But until Tuesday, they could not find a destination, and argued in court that they had the authority to detain him indefinitely under the Patriot Act until they could.

Hassoun, 58, is a Palestinian man who was born in Lebanon. In 2007, he was convicted of conspiracy to murder, kidnap and maim people in a foreign country along with Jose Padilla, who is still imprisoned.

Authorities did not disclose Hassoun’s destination after he left the country on Tuesday, the Democrat and Chronicle reported.

Earlier this summer, federal prosecutors had argued at a hearing that Hassoun remained a threat to national security, but ultimately withdrew testimony from another detainee at the Batavia detention facility, who claimed Hassoun told him about plans to commit crimes upon his release. Hassoun’s attorney said the claims were fabricated, the Observer Dispatch reported.

U.S. District Judge Elizabeth Wolford ruled against the government and ordered Hassoun’s release. Prosecutors won an emergency stay upon appeal in July.

Hassoun’s deportation appears to end the legal battle over whether he posed a danger and could be held indefinitely.

Hassoun immigrated to the Florida in 1989, married and had three children, all of whom are American citizens. His family moved to Lebanon after his arrest, the Buffalo News reported.

One of Hassoun’s attorneys, Jonathan Manes, told the Democrat and Chronicle in an email: “After 18 years of imprisonment and nearly 1 1/2 years detained unlawfully under the Patriot Act, he is now a free man.”

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