The attorney for a Maine man, who was one of three men arrested this month on immigration charges during the investigation into the failed Times Square bombing, today said her client has no connection to the botched attack.
Cynthia Arn represents Mohammad Rafiq Rahman, 33, a computer programmer from South Portland, Maine, who had his first appearance in US Immigration Court today via video link from the Cumberland County jail in Portland, Maine, where he is being held.
Arn stood next to him over the video link and later spoke with the Globe in a telephone interview. "I hope that people will reserve judgment about him until there are actual facts that have been established," Arn said. "I think ultimately they will find that he's done nothing wrong.''
Arn said Rahman told her he knew the Times Square suspect Faisal Shahzad "a long time ago just because they had the same circle of friends but they weren't particularly close or friendly.''
Arn said Rahman entered the country in 1999 with a specialty occupation visa that allowed him to work as a computer programmer, then had his visa was extended a couple of times before he married an American citizen in March.
Arn said she will file a petition requesting that he be granted legal residency, based on his marriage, and will ask that he be released on bail until his immigration case is resolved. She stressed that he has not been charged with any crime, and is only being held for overstaying a visa.
Earlier today, US Immigration Court Judge Francis L. Cramer in Boston gave Arn until June 2 to provide the court with papers.
On the video link, Rahman could be seen wearing what appeared to be a yellow jumpsuit issued by the jail. He has dark shoulder length slightly curly hair, has a short beard and wears glasses.
The two other men arrested along with Rahman, Pir Khan, a 43-year-old taxi driver, and his cousin, Aftab Ali Khan, a 27-year-old gas station attendant, shared an apartment in Watertown and are also being held without bail.
Last Friday, after visiting Rahman in the Portland jail, Barry Hoffman, Pakistan's consul general in Boston, said Rahman did not know why he was being held and said he had no connection to the Times Square bombing.
"He feels like he'll weather the storm,'' Hoffman said.
Hoffman described Rahman as "a talented computer programmer.'' He said 'Rahman was married in March to an American citizen, Sara Boutet Khan, a 44-year-old artist from Saco, Maine. The couple live together in an apartment in South Portland.
Rahman works for Artist & Craftsman Supply, a company with 15 stores from Portland, Maine, to Los Angeles.
The owner, Larry Adlerstein has told the Globe that Rahman told him after the attempted bombing in Times Square that he knew Shahzad from the Pakistani community in Connecticut.
But, Adlerstein said Rahman told him he hadn't seen Shahzad in eight or nine years and was surprised by Shahzad's arrest because when he knew him he was "very meek.''
During a hearing in Immigration Court last week, a government lawyer said Aftab Ali Khan had Shahzad's cellphone number stored in his cellphone and Shahzad's name and number written on an envelope seized in the bedroom of his Watertown apartment.
The disclosure in court by Richard D. Neville, deputy chief counsel for US Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Boston, marked the first time the government has provided evidence linking Shahzad to any of the three New England men arrested on immigration charges.
After the men's arrests May 13, US Attorney General Eric Holder said investigators believed there was evidence that the three men provided money to Shahzad through money transfer network, but had not determined whether they knew the purpose of the funds.
None of the three has been charged criminally.
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