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Over and out

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Nabil Almarabh has been ordered deported to Syria, despite claims that he will likely be tortured or killed if sent there.

Immigration judge Robert Newberry ruled last week that the 36-year-old Kuwaiti, who has been in federal custody since Sept. 19, 2001, be deported to the Middle-Eastern country.

Almarabh had hoped to avoid deportation to Syria under “the convention against torture,” says his lawyer, Tamara French, who was disappointed by Newberry’s ruling.

Almarabh was born in Kuwait but is considered a Syrian citizen since his parents were born there. He cannot return to Kuwait because the government there won’t allow it, says French. She claims that Almarabh may be tortured if returned to Syria “because he was portrayed in the media as a terrorist.”

Almarabh had been on a terrorist watch list and was arrested as part of a nationwide dragnet seeking men of Middle-Eastern descent in the wake of Sept. 11. He had entered the United States illegally and briefly lived in Boston with a man who was later convicted of attempting to bomb a hotel in Jordan. That same man allegedly told the FBI that Almarabh was an associate of Osama bin Laden.

Though the government never brought terrorism charges against him, Newberry said in a 21-page written opinion that Almarabh is a “danger” to U.S. security. The judge also wrote that Almarabh is a “shadowy and transient figure who has previously engaged in violent conduct.”

Almarabh admitted at his immigration trial last month that he was convicted of stabbing a former roommate.

French says that they may appeal the ruling, which could take about a year.

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