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A former college student from Yemen who authorities suspect of helping three Sept. 11 hijackers get driver’s licenses and establish themselves in the United States was sentenced to six months behind bars for lying to a U.S. immigration officer. Mohdar Abdullah, a former student at San Diego State University, has been in custody since shortly after last year’s terrorist attacks. With credit for time served, he was to be released Wednesday to the Immigration and Naturalization Service for deportation. Abdullah, 24, acknowledged that he lied when he told an immigration officer that he entered the United States on Dec. 7, 1998, at New York on an Italian passport. In truth, he entered three days later from Canada on a Yemeni passport. The sentencing did not address the explosive allegations made in court documents that investigators suspect Abdullah helped three Sept. 11 hijackers who lived in San Diego in 2000. Abdullah told hijackers Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar how to get Social Security cards and California driver’s licenses, prosecutors said. He also telephoned a flight school in Florida to arrange for lessons and “regularly dined, worked and prayed with the hijackers,” prosecutors said. An FBI agent also said in court papers that Abdullah remained illegally in the United States “in order to help the … hijackers and/or any future hijackers in the furtherance of terrorist activities against people in the United States.” Abdullah’s attorney, Kerry Steigerwalt, has said the allegations were never substantiated. Steigerwalt insisted his client had only “incidental” contact with the hijackers and had no advance knowledge of the attacks. At his arrest, prosecutors said Abdullah spoke without prompting of “the hatred in his heart for the United States government.” Copyright 2002 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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