The detained co-founder of an Islamic charity has appealed an order sending him and his family back to Lebanon, postponing their deportation for at least a couple of months, his lawyer says.
Ashraf Nubani, attorney for Rabih Haddad, said Thursday he has filed a notice of appeal with the Board of Immigration Appeals, part of the Justice Department.
Nubani said he hopes to argue Haddad's case before the board in the next couple of months. A Justice Department spokesman confirmed the appeal but had no further comment.
Haddad, a resident of Ann Arbor, Mich., who is also a Lebanese citizen, was arrested Dec. 14, 2001, the same day the suburban Chicago offices of the Global Relief Foundation were raided. Haddad is co-founder of the charity, which federal authorities accuse of funneling money to al Qaeda.
In November, an immigration judge denied political asylum to Haddad, his wife and three of their children and ordered them removed from the United States. All are accused of overstaying their visas; only Haddad is jailed.
Nubani said he talks to his client by phone about three times a week at the Monroe County Jail.
"It's been a year and there have been no charges," Nubani said. "He understands this is about civil rights."
Haddad's case has attracted international attention and he and his supporters have made legal challenges over secret court hearings.
Haddad's early hearings were closed to the public, sparking lawsuits from the American Civil Liberties Union, several newspapers and Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.), who say the proceedings must be open.
Neither Haddad nor Global Relief has been charged with a terror-related crime; both have denied any links. Haddad has said the group is strictly a humanitarian organization.
The government says Global Relief has received substantial funding from a suspected financier of al Qaeda's worldwide efforts.