Judge Says Man Convicted of Terrorism in 2006 Should Go Free

A federal judge recommended that terrorism convictions that have kept a California man in federal prison since 2006 be overturned on the grounds that his lawyer didn’t adequately represent him at the time. Hamid Hayat was 23 when a federal jury convicted him of training at a terrorist camp in his family’s homeland of Pakistan and returning to the United States to lie in wait for orders to kill Americans as a jihadi. He is now in a federal prison in Arizona and has served half of his 24-year sentence. However, U.S. Magistrate Judge Deborah Barnes recommended on Friday that the convictions be thrown out based on her examinations of the case and of testimony by more than a dozen witnesses and experts. Barnes concluded that the failure of Hayat’s trial attorney to present witnesses deprived him of a sufficient alibi that would likely have persuaded the jury not to convict. “Hamid has spent 14 years in prison on a charge of which he is absolutely innocent,” Hayat’s current attorney, Dennis Riordan, said. “This was a weak case from the beginning.”