Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Ex-USF student who was acquitted of explosives charge still battling for citizenship

TAMPA — The University of South Florida graduate who was acquitted of federal explosives charges in 2009 is now asking a judge to rule whether a delayed decision to deny him citizenship should stand.

Youssef Megahed first applied to become a U.S. citizen in 2007. By December 2011, more than a year after immigration officials interviewed him, a decision hadn't been reached, said his attorney, Charles Kuck.

Megahed filed a federal lawsuit in December to force an answer. A few weeks later, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services denied his application, Kuck said.

In denying Megahed's application, officials cited his failure to establish himself as a "good moral character," Kuck said.

Because the decision took more than the 120 days allowed by law for immigration officials to make a decision after interviewing an applicant, Megahed is asking a federal judge to overrule the decision, Kuck said. "We are waiting on a federal judge to say whether he will allow the decision to stand or if he will make a different decision," Kuck said. "We believe, ultimately, we will be successful."

Besides the delayed decision, Kuck said, there were problems with the decision process. Megahed was questioned for more than 10 hours, Kuck said, but officials based their decision on only a small part of it.

Megahed was arrested in August 2007 along with USF student Ahmed Mohamed in South Carolina. Mohamed was pulled over for speeding, and authorities found PVC pipes filled with potassium nitrate mixture in his trunk. He said they were sugar rockets.

Megahed was charged with illegal transportation of explosive materials and possession of a destructive device. Neither man was convicted on those charges, but Mohamed received a 15-year sentence after an FBI investigation found he posted an Internet video showing how to make a toy car's remote control into a detonator.

After his April 2009 acquittal, Megahed was rearrested for a deportation hearing and later released. His family gained citizenship in 2009. The lawsuit requesting a decision and now questioning the validity of the Egyptian national's citizenship decision was filed against the U.S. attorney general, secretary of Homeland Security, FBI director, and the U.S. Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Service's national director and Tampa field office director.

Times researcher Tim Rozgonyi contributed to this report.

Ex-USF student who was acquitted of explosives charge still battling for citizenship 03/17/12 [Last modified: Saturday, March 17, 2012 9:51pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Mayor Rick Kriseman says St. Petersburg mayoral election is about going forward, not back

    Blogs

    ST. PETERSBURG — Mayor Rick Kriseman christened his campaign office Friday evening by telling his supporters that the mayoral election was about moving forward, not backward.

    Mayor Rick Kriseman says mayoral election is about inclusiveness Friday at campaign office rally
  2. Forecast: Lots of sunshine, low humidity to start Memorial Day weekend

    Weather

    The start of your long Memorial Day weekend is all sunshine this Saturday, according to WTSP 10Weather meteorologist Rick Kearbey.

    WTSP seven-day forecast on May 27, 2017.
  3. For starters: Rays at Twins, looking for another with Odorizzi starting

    Blogs

    UPDATE, 11:01: No Dickerson today as the Rays go with seven right-handers.

    Here is the lineup:

  4. Global computer outage grounds British flights

    Airlines

    LONDON — British Airways canceled all flights from London's Heathrow and Gatwick airports Saturday as a global IT failure caused severe disruption for travelers on a busy holiday weekend.

    British Airways planes are parked at Heathrow Airport in January. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein, file)
  5. Road rage incident leaves uninvolved man, 52, with critical injuries in Pinellas Park

    Accidents

    PINELLAS PARK — A 52-year-old man was critically injured after an apparent road rage incident that shut down the area of a U.S. 19 overpass for nearly six hours on Friday, police said.

    Pinellas Park police say a man has critical injuries after a truck involved in a road rage incident slammed into him after he cut off another vehicle. (Pinellas Park Police Department)