Hezbollah financier to be released from US, expected in Beirut 'within hours': Report

Hezbollah fighters during the inauguration of a new cemetery for their fighters who died in fighting against Israel. (File Photo: AP)

The United States will release Kassim Tajideen, a Lebanese financier of Hezbollah, despite government opposition to a judicial order granting an emergency request for compassionate release.

Lebanese media said that Tajideen was en route to Beirut on June 7 and would land "within hours." However, an official from the US Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) said that he was still in custody as of Tuesday night.

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“Due to operational security, we are not able to discuss specific removals prior to the individual’s successful repatriation,” the ICE official told Al Arabiya English in an email.

Arrested in Morocco in 2017 and following an international arrest warrant, Tajideen was extradited to the US. He later pleaded guilty to charges related to evading sanctions against him.

On May 28, Judge Reggie Walton from the Washington Federal District Court cited the coronavirus pandemic and Tajideen’s age as a reason to release him.

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Shortly after, he was transferred to ICE for removal from the US.

NBC News reported that the Justice Department (DOJ) filed an appeal of the release order on June 25.

According to NBC News, the Justice Department told the US Court of Appeals that “the need for the sentence imposed to reflect the seriousness of the offense and to promote deterrence by others and respect for US laws around the world remains.”

Tajideen was sentenced to five years in prison in August 2019.

On Tuesday, it appeared that the appeal was not approved, and a State Department official told Al Arabiya English that the US government opposed the release. “But in the end the court ruled in his favor. We are a nation of laws and will abide by the court’s decision,” the official said.

Tajideen, 65, pleaded guilty before a Washington court and faces five years in prison. (Twitter)

Tajideen, 65, pleaded guilty before a Washington court and faces five years in prison. (Twitter)

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Although he may soon be released, Tajideen remains a Specially Designated Global Terrorist by the US Treasury Department and US citizens are prohibited from working with him.

“Anyone else engaging in transactions with him or his business may also be subject to US sanctions,” the State Department official said.

The DOJ was not immediately available for comment.

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Last Update: Wednesday, 08 July 2020 KSA 02:28 - GMT 23:28
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