Albany man convicted of terrorism charges in 2000s released from prison

Yassin Aref Yassin Aref | Photo: File / WNYT.

October 04, 2018 05:09 PM

One of the Albany men convicted on terrorism charges is a free man.  According to the Federal Bureau of Prisons, Yassin Aref was released Wednesday.

Back in 2004, Aref and Mohammed Hossain, the founder of the mosque, were arrested in a scheme to buy a missile launcher. The feds say he was speaking to people in a terrorist group based in Iraq with ties to Al-Qaeda.

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In 2006, Aref was found guilty on 10 of 30 charges against him.  Hossain was found guilty on all 27 counts he faced. Aref was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison.

On Thursday, Kathy Manley, Aref's attorney, said Aref is being held in an immigration detention center in Pennsylvania awaiting deportation proceedings.

Manley says her client is innocent and was the victim of post 9/11 profiling and entrapment.

"It's been quite an odyssey. He's totally innocent and I don't say that about too many clients. You know, everyone's presumed innocent, some really are and he really, really is. It was a total travesty of justice," said Manley.

Manley filed several appeals to the ruling but all proved unsuccessful.

Manley says Aref is scheduled to meet with a judge next Tuesday and will not contest deportation. His wife and two of his four children have already traveled to Iraq to be there when he arrives.

Manley says despite twelve years behind bars and what many say is a wrongful conviction, Aref has found forgiveness.

"I think in the interest of hos own mental and spiritual well-being he kind of just let go of the anger and he realizes it was really unfair," she said. "Seems to be this is what happened, I have to accept it, it was a test from God and I have to make the best of what I have now."


WNYT Staff

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