Material witness warrant issued for Muslim student
- The following story appeared on page B1 of the wednesday, 15 January 2003
edition of The Arizona Republic. It is credited to Dennis Wagner of The
Arizona Republic. Material witness warrants date from the Reagan
administration and are a clever tactic for getting around the right of
habeas corpus. Zakaria Soubra had been ordered deported for "moral
turpitude" (i.e. expressing politically incorrect opinions), but it seems
he doesn't get to go home yet.
MATERIAL WITNESS WARRANT ISSUED FOR MUSLIM STUDENT
Federal anti-terrorism prosecutors obtained a material witness warrant
for Zakaria Soubra last week just minutes before the Muslim aeronautical
student was to be placed aboard a jet and deported to Lebanon.
Soubra's public defender, Jeffrey Williams, said the material witness
warrant was issued last week, when Soubra disappeared beneath a cloak
of secrecy prompting a search by his family, lawyers and friends.
Federal officials declined to comment.
Soubra, 26, who once belonged to a London-based radical Islamic group,
was named in the Phoenix memo, penned by FBI agent Ken Williams, that
warned of Middle Eastern flight students. Soubra has denied terrorism
ties and condemned the September 11th attacks. He was arrested in May
after failing to meet the requirements of his student visa.
Although the government has never made public accusations linking
Soubra to terrorism, portions of his Immigration Court prodeedings
in Florence were closed because of national security concerns.
Deedra Abboud of the Council of American-Islamic relations said Brandy
Soubra, who lives in the Valley, was unable to locate her husband for
several days. Abboud said Zakaria finally left a voice message
explaining that he had been taken to the airport for deportation, then
returned to Florence at the last minute.
Abboud said she believes Soubra is to be flown to Virginia within days,
possibly for a grand jury appearance.