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Immigration officials won't appeal Megahed ruling

TAMPA — Immigration officials won't appeal the ruling of a judge who refused to deport University of South Florida student Youssef Megahed on terrorism charges.

"After carefully reviewing and evaluating the decision made by an immigration judge to terminate Megahed's removal proceedings, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has decided to not appeal the judge's decision," ICE said in a statement released through spokeswoman Nicole Navas. "The ICE case is closed."

Megahed's father, Samir, said ICE authorities in Tampa called this week to ask that Youssef be brought to their office to have an electronic monitor removed.

"I am proud the government has made the correct decision here," said Charles Kuck, an Atlanta immigration attorney who represented Megahed at the deportation hearing. "There is no case to appeal, as there was no evidence that Youssef had ever committed the acts of which the government accused him. This time, justice has prevailed."

Megahed and Ahmed Mohamed were arrested on Aug. 4, 2007, in Goose Creek, S.C., when a deputy stopped them for speeding and found PVC pipes stuffed with a potassium nitrate mixture in the car's trunk.

Mohamed said they belonged to him and described them as sugar rockets. The FBI called them low-grade explosives and charged the men with illegal transportation of explosive materials and possession of a destructive device.

Megahed was acquitted of the charges at a criminal trial in Tampa but taken into immigration custody days later.

Mohamed pleaded guilty to providing material support to terrorists and received 15 years in prison. Mohamed admitted posting a YouTube video showing how to turn a child's toy into a detonator. He said he intended it for enemies of the United States.

Kevin Graham can be reached at kgraham@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3433.

Immigration officials won't appeal Megahed ruling 11/06/09 [Last modified: Friday, November 6, 2009 4:33pm]
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