New York: A Pakistani native, who had once met al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan, will be stripped off his US citizenship following his 2003 conviction of supporting the terror group and plotting to destroy the Brooklyn Bridge.
Iyman Faris, a 50-year-old naturalized US citizen, was convicted in 2003 of providing material support to Al-Qaeda. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison.
Judge Staci Yandle of the US District Court for the Southern District of Illinois entered an order Tuesday revoking the naturalized US citizenship of the convicted terrorist.
In its order revoking the citizenship, the court found that Faris was ineligible for naturalization and unlawfully procured it through willful misrepresentation of material facts.
The US Justice Department said that among other actions in support of al Qaeda, Faris had evaluated in 2002 the practicality of a plot to collapse the Brooklyn Bridge in New York using gas cutters, communicating his assessment to Al-Qaeda via coded messages.
In 2000, Faris had travelled to Afghanistan where he met Osama bin Laden and other high-ranking members of Al-Qaeda at the terror group’s training camp. He had also researched information about ultralight airplanes for a senior Al-Qaeda leader, and arranged for airline tickets to be issued to the Al-Qaeda operatives.
In its February 4 order, the US District Court for the Southern District of Illinois granted the government’s motion for summary judgment revoking Faris’s US citizenship on multiple bases.
The court found that Faris’ admitted affiliation with Al-Qaeda within five years after naturalizing established that he was not attached to the principles of the Constitution and well-disposed to the good order and happiness of the United States at the time he naturalized in 1999.
The court also found that Faris was ineligible for naturalization based on his lies to immigration officers while under oath and his fraudulent entry into the United States in 1994 by using another person’s passport and visa.
Faris is currently serving his criminal sentence at the US Penitentiary at Marion, Illinois, with a projected release date in August 2020. Because of the Court’s order, Faris is no longer a US citizen and may be subjected to removal proceedings.
US Attorney Steven Weinhoeft for the Southern District of Illinois said Faris is a traitor to the oath he took renouncing foreign allegiances and pledging to defend the Constitution and the American way of life.
“He (Faris) was a wolf in sheep’s clothing who took advantage of American generosity with plans to terrorize and murder. He does not deserve the honour of being an American citizen,” Weinhoeft said.