Prosecutors move to drop charges against activist

Sami Al-Arian in 2002. (File) (Chris Livingston, Getty Images)
Sami Al-Arian in 2002. (File) (Chris Livingston, Getty Images)
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Updated: 6/27 3:43 pm

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) — Federal prosecutors are moving to drop criminal contempt charges against a Palestinian activist in the Washington, D.C. area, where the case has sat in limbo for five years in front of a skeptical judge.

Former professor Sami Al-Arian has been a target of the Justice Department for more than a decade. He was initially charged with playing a leadership role in the terrorist group Palestinian Islamic Jihad. He ended up taking a plea bargain on greatly reduced charges.

Since 2008, prosecutors in Virginia have pursued contempt charges for his refusal to testify to a grand jury.

For five years, the case has sat dormant on the court docket. Judge Leonie Brinkema questioned prosecutors' tactics and refused to rule on pretrial motions.

Prosecutors said Friday they will drop the case, which will likely result in Al-Arian's deportation.

©2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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