Egyptian restaurant owner released from custody after federal officials determined no ties to terrorism

An Egyptian restaurant owner, arrested when his name turned up on a terrorist watch list, was released Tuesday after federal officials determined he had no ties to terrorism, his attorney said.

Basuyouy Mamdouh Ebaid, 44, was flying home to Hollywood, Florida, where his family had planned a party, his attorney, Ralph Kenol, said.

"We're happy that his name has at least technically been cleared. Now he has to go through the process of rebuilding his name in the community," Kenol said.

Ebaid was arrested in February after he allegedly sold liquor to minors. Police then ran his name through a computer database, which listed him as a possible terrorist because he was allegedly overheard praising al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden and suicide bombers.

He had been held at the Krome Detention Center, but was moved to another detention center in Arizona when Krome sustained damage from Hurricane Wilma last month, Kenol said.

U.S. Immigration Judge Kenneth S. Hurewitz ruled in September that Ebaid would not be deported because media reports about his case could get him tortured if he was sent back to Egypt.

Hurewitz also said Ebaid's assertion that he had no ties to terrorism and didn't know why his name was on a federal terror watch list was credible.

Ebaid came to the United States 21 years ago on a student visa.

"Our next step is to work toward him getting permanent resident status based on his marriage to a U.S. citizen," Kenol said.

Ebaid was not charged with any terrorist-related crimes, but federal officials wanted him deported because he pleaded guilty in 1999 in Miami-Dade Circuit Court to purchasing and possessing less than 20 grams of marijuana for his personal use.

He was sentenced to time served, one day, and the judge withheld his conviction, so in the state's eye, he is not a felon, reported AP. P.T.

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