|A lawyer for Pir D. Khan, a 43-year-old taxi driver from Watertown, said his client should be allowed to stay because he has been an upstanding citizen since his arrival in the United States in summer 1991 and his American wife will face “extreme personal hardship’’ if he is returned to Pakistan.|
Judge lets Pakistani fight his expulsion
Man in bomb plot subject to being deported, he rules
One of three Pakistani men arrested in New England last month as part of the investigation into the attempted bombing in Times Square entered the country illegally through Mexico, which makes him subject to deportation, an immigration judge ruled yesterday.
But a lawyer for Pir D. Khan, a 43-year-old taxi driver from Watertown, said his client should be allowed to stay because he has been an upstanding citizen since his arrival in the United States in summer 1991 and his American wife will face “extreme personal hardship’’ if he is returned to Pakistan.
US Immigration Judge Matthew J. D’Angelo said he will give Khan a chance to call witnesses and challenge his deportation during an Aug. 10 hearing in US Immigration Court in Boston. Until then, Khan will continue to be held at the Plymouth County House of Correction.
During yesterday’s brief hearing, Khan appeared via video link from the jail, dressed in a bright orange jail-issued suit. He acknowledged that he understood what was being said. There was no mention during the hearing of the May 1 attempted car bombing in Times Square or of Faisal Shahzad, the Bridgeport, Conn., man accused of the botched attack.
“There is no evidence against my client to show he had any connection to the Times Square bombing,’’ Framingham lawyer Saher Macarius, who represents Khan, told reporters after the hearing. “If he leaves, his wife will face extreme and unusual hardship.’’
He declined to elaborate, but said, by law, it must be more than financial hardship.
Khan and Rebecca May Barry, 24, of Lewiston, Maine, were married in December 2008 at Watertown City Hall. She was not in court yesterday.
During Khan’s initial appearance in court last month, Richard D. Neville, deputy chief counsel for US Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Boston, said it appeared that Khan had two wives because he declared he had a wife and child in Pakistan on documents filed in 1994, when he was seeking political asylum in the United States.
A hearing officer rejected Khan’s bid for asylum in 2007, and he was in the process of appealing that when he married Barry.
But Macarius said Khan told him he had never legally married the woman in Pakistan, who died in 2001.
Khan was arrested May 13, along with his cousin, Aftab Ali Khan, 27, who arrived in the United States last August and was working at a Brookline gas station.
A third man, Mohammad Shafiq Rahman, a 33-year-old computer programmer from South Portland, Maine, was also arrested. All three are accused of immigration violations, but have not been charged criminally. Rahman, who has also denied any connection to the failed Times Square bombing, is scheduled to appear in US Immigration Court in Boston today.
Government officials have said the three men might have handled informal money transfers for Shahzad, but that it was unclear whether they knew how the funds would be used.
During a recent hearing in Aftab Khan’s case, Neville said Aftab Khan had Shahzad’s cellphone number stored in his cellphone and written on an envelope found in the Watertown apartment he shared with Pir Khan and two other men.
Last week, an immigration judge rejected Aftab Khan’s request to leave the country voluntarily and ordered him deported. Macarius, who also represents Aftab Khan, said the ruling means that it could take years before Aftab Khan is deported because the case will wind its way through the system.
Macarius said Aftab and Pir Khan told him they have no connection to Shahzad or the attempted bombing.
“They didn’t know the guy at all,’’ Macarius said. “I believe that the government was trying to find any connection . . . found nothing, and they handed my clients back to immigration.’’
Shelley Murphy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.