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National Briefing / New York

Yemeni cleric freed in plea deal

August 08, 2009|Times Wire Reports

An ailing Yemeni cleric once sentenced to 75 years in prison in a high-profile U.S. terrorism prosecution quietly won his freedom in a plea deal in federal court.

Sheik Mohammed Ali Hasan Moayad and his assistant pleaded guilty to conspiring to support violence by the Palestinian militant group Hamas. They were sentenced to time served -- more than six years -- and will be sent back to Yemen within a few days.

An appeals court had thrown out convictions of Moayad and Mohammed Mohsen Zayed, who was serving a 45-year term. The court found the men's rights were violated by what it called "highly inflammatory and irrelevant" testimony and evidence, including images of Osama bin Laden.

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