According to news wires and sources, a judge in California has ruled immediately that Mosab Hassan Yousef, the author of Son of Hamas, can be granted political asylum in the US after he clears several of the normal steps, such as a background check. The US government has dropped its opposition without explanation.
Here's what the news wires are reporting:
The son of a Hamas founder who became a Christian and an Israeli spy will be granted U.S. asylum after he passes a routine background check, an immigration judge ruled Wednesday.
Mosab Hassan Yousef got the good news during a 15-minute deportation hearing after a U.S. Department of Homeland Security attorney said the government was dropping its objections.
The agency denied Yousef's asylum request in February 2009, arguing that he had been involved in terrorism and was a threat to the United States. Attorney Kerri Calcador gave no explanation for the government's change of heart. The immigration judge, Rico Bartolomei, ruled that Yousef will be allowed to remain in the United States after he is fingerprinted and passes a routine background check. Yousef, who has been living in San Diego, was cheered by supporters as he left the hearing and said he would like to become a U.S. citizen.
Supporters called him a hero, not a terrorist. "For 10 years, he fought terrorism in secret, hiding what he was doing and who he was," his attorney, Steven Seick, wrote in a court filing. "He deserves a safe place away from violence and fear." Yousef, 32, had argued that he would be killed if he was deported because he spied on the militant group for Israel's Shin Bet security's intelligence agency and abandoned Islam.
According to Mosab's spokesperson, he will hold a press conference by phone later today. CT will update this story after that.
According to a press statement released late Tuesday night:
Yousef's case has initiated a sense of disbelief, and even outrage, that the man who is considered a hero in Israel for preventing a number of suicide bombings is being considered for deportation. Yesterday, Yousef received a letter signed by 22 members of Congress, that was written to DHS Secretary Napolitano in support of Yousef. In addition, Yousef has recently received a thank you letter from the Knesset for his contributions to Israel. Yousef worked with the Israeli intelligence agency called Shin Bet. His Shin Bet handler Gonen Ben-Itzhak will be at the hearing to testify in Yousef's behalf.
Mosab and his Shin Bet handler had this to say in The Washington Post:
We believe that friendships like ours are key to eliminating hate and promoting the liberty that both our peoples so desperately desire.
For the full op-ed piece, click.