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Ex-professor gets over 4 years in Florida Jihad case

Written by: Staff

TAMPA, Fla., May 1 (Reuters) Former Florida University professor Sami al-Arian was today sentenced to four years and nine months in prison for aiding the Palestinian group Islamic Jihad.

US District Judge James Moody sentenced al-Arian to the maximum 57 months in prison but gave him credit for 38 months he has already served. He will have to serve the balance, 19 months, before being deported, prosecutors said.

Al-Arian, 48, was arrested in February 2003 on charges he gave money and support to the group, which has been designated as a terrorist organization by the United States.

He was acquitted on eight of the 17 charges against him last December after a six month trial with three co-defendants.

On April 14, al-Arian pleaded guilty to a single count of conspiracy to provide services to the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and agreed to be deported. In return, federal prosecutors agreed to drop the remaining eight charges against him.

In his ruling, Moody harshly criticized al-Arian for doing nothing to stop bombings perpetrated by Islamic Jihad.

''You lifted not one finger. To the contrary, you laughed when you heard of the bombings,'' he said.

''You are a master manipulator. The evidence is clear in this case. you were a leader of the PIJ.'' REUTERS SB PC1946

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