TAMPA, Fla. – A judge sentenced former professor Sami Al-Arian on Monday to another year and a half in prison before he will be deported in his terrorism conspiracy case.
Al-Arian, 48, was sentenced to four years and nine months, but he will get credit for the three years and three months he already has served while being held before and after his trial.
His lawyer, Linda Moreno, asked the judge to release her client now, but the judge refused and called Al-Arian "a master manipulator."
Al-Arian signed a plea agreement April 14 in which he admitted providing support to members of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, a State Department-designated terrorist group responsible for hundreds of deaths in Israel and the Palestinian territories.
The former University of South Florida computer engineering professor took the plea deal despite a jury failing to convict him of any of the 17 charges against him after a six-month trial last year. His family said he took the deal to get out of jail and end their suffering.
As part of the plea agreement, Al-Arian admitted to being associated with the Palestinian Islamic Jihad from the late 1980s and providing "services" for the group, which included filing for immigration benefits for key members, hiding the identities of those men and lying about his involvement.
It was not immediately clear where Al-Arian will be sent once he is deported. Born in Kuwait to Palestinian refugee parents, he was reared mostly in Egypt before coming to the United States 30 years ago. He has been jailed since his arrest in February 2003.