FAYETTEVILLE, Ar – A University of Arkansas graduate was found innocent of attempting to provide material support to a Palestinian terrorist organization but convicted of lesser charges, including making false statements on immigration documents.
"I am not a terrorist. (The jury) knew it," Arwah Jaber said after the verdict.
Jaber, 33, faces a maximum of 10 years in prison on each count of obtaining his naturalization unlawfully and making false statements.
The government also moved to revoke his citizenship over his convictions for obtaining naturalization unlawfully and making false statements on passport and immigration applications.
U.S. District Judge Jimm Larry Hendren on Tuesday gave both sides 10 days to submit written arguments on that issue.
Jaber came to the attention of authorities when he talked openly about joining Palestinian Islamic Jihad, a group the U.S. government considers a terrorist organization. He was arrested last year as he was about to board a flight and maintains he was going to the Middle East to visit relatives. The government says he wanted to join the holy war.
"We don't know what the consequences would have been," said U.S. Attorney Bob Balfe. "We had to take action."
Jaber was born on the West Bank and became a U.S. citizen in 1994. He testified last week he made the statements about Palestinian Islamic Jihad because he was upset at delays in obtaining his degree. He receive a doctorate in chemistry from the university last fall.
He admitted using a false Social Security number, but said he needed it to obtain credit cards in his Palestinian name, Orwah Houshia. He said he did not include the name Orwah Houshia on immigration papers because he had used Arwah Jaber previously for immigration documents.
Jaber said he now expects to leave the country with his wife, Dawn, and find a teaching position in the Middle East.