A federal judge ruled against stripping away the U.S. citizenship of a convicted terrorist tied to a plot to destroy the Brooklyn Bridge, citing a lack of evidence to prove that the status had been granted based on misrepresentations.
Iyman Faris, 49, was sentenced in 2003 for aiding and abetting al-Qaida by scoping out the iconic New York bridge as a part of a plot to cut through the cables supporting the structure. He had met with Osam bin Laden in Afghanistan and worked with 9/11 architect Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.
Faris is set to be released on Dec. 23, 2020, but a court filing last year in a U.S. District Court argued that Faris lied on immigration papers and that his terrorist affiliations demonstrated a lack of commitment to the Constitution.
Originally born in Pakistan, Faris became a citizen in 1999. He worked as a truck driver in Ohio and was married to an American woman.
Federal Judge Staci Yanle ruled this month in favor of Faris, saying that there was not enough evidence to prove that any misrepresentations influenced the decision to grant him citizenship.
“American citizenship is precious, and the government carries a heavy burden of proof when attempting to divest a naturalized citizen of his or her citizenship," she wrote on July 11.
The Department of Justice declined to comment to The Associated Press.
Faris’ case was one of the first terrorism cases to follow the 9/11 attacks.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.