A federal appeals court ruled that Lyglenson Lemorin, acquitted of terrorism charges in the Liberty City Seven case, cannot return to the U.S. from Haiti, where he was deported last month.
By JAY WEAVER
Lyglenson Lemorin, acquitted in a major terrorism trial of conspiring with other Miami men to support al Qaeda, may never be able to return to the country where he grew up – the United States.
Lemorin, 35, a lawful U.S. resident with no criminal record, has lost a crucial legal appeal to reverse his deportation to Haiti a month ago.
Although he was found not guilty in the first federal trial of the so-called Liberty City Seven in 2007, Lemorin immediately faced a deportation order issued by Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Ever since, he has challenged the removal to his native Haiti, losing every step of the way, including most recently before a panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit of Appeals in Atlanta.
“First, the record shows that Lemorin actually engaged in terrorist activities, in that he had acted with intent to cause death or serious bodily injury, and that he had provided material support to the [Liberty City group] and its leader, Narseal Batiste,” the three-judge appellate panel wrote this month.
His attorney, Charles Kuck, said he will ask the full appellate court to reconsider Lemorin’s deportation appeal. “We are terribly disappointed with the decision and the factual misstatements of the record,” Kuck said.
Lemorin was deported on Jan. 20 with a group of Haitian nationals with criminal records in the United States, following the lifting of a one-year moratorium on deportations to earthquake-ravaged Haiti. Despite his pending appeal, Lemorin was included in that first group because the appellate court rejected his emergency petition to stop his deportation before issuing the final ruling this month.
Lemorin, whose family moved from Haiti to Miami in the late 1980s, has a wife and three children in North Miami Beach. Charlene Mingo Lemorin, a hairdresser who undergoes kidney dialysis, said her husband was held by Haitian authorities for one week in jail after his deportation.
“I’m just glad he’s out,” said Charlene Lemorin, 31, declining to comment further because of the sensitivity of her husband’s status as a deportee.
The deportation of Lemorin – along with the Haitian criminals – comes at a particularly dangerous time in Haiti, where a deadly cholera outbreak has claimed the lives of more than 4,000 people and a presidential election is still unresolved..
Lemorin was charged in 2006 with conspiring with six other Miami men – all members of a religious group called the Moorish Science Temple – to provide “material support” to al Qaeda following an FBI sting operation. In December 2007, Lemorin was found not guilty of conspiring with the Liberty City group to aid al Qaeda in a plot to blow up the Sears Tower in Chicago and Miami’s FBI building. The federal jury deadlocked on the other six defendants, five of whom were eventually convicted.
But under the USA Patriot Act, adopted after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, a lawful U.S. resident such as Lemorin may be locked up and deported on terrorism-related allegations even if the person has not been convicted.
Days after Lemorin’s acquittal, immigration authorities took him into custody and said he should be deported because he provided “material support” to al Qaeda – including taking an oath to the terrorist organization, led by an FBI informant posing as financier.
A federal immigration judge in Miami sided with the government, as did the Board of Immigration Appeals in Virginia and now the federal appellate court in Atlanta.