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Bail Set at $500,000 for Student

November 21, 2001

SAN DIEGO (AP) _ A federal magistrate Tuesday set bail at $500,000 for a San Diego college student arrested as a material witness in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Federal prosecutors agreed to the conditions of release for Mohdar Mohamed Abdoulah, suggesting the government no longer views him as a threat to society.

The 23-year-old Yemeni national was arrested two months ago at gunpoint. He was brought before a federal grand jury in New York to testify about what one of his attorney called his ``passing″ acquaintance with Nawaf Alhazmi, one of the Sept. 11 hijackers who lived in San Diego last year.

Earlier this month, Abdoulah returned to San Diego and was charged with immigration violations. He allegedly lied on an application for political asylum, claiming he was from Somalia.

The charges are unrelated to the attacks. If convicted, Abdoulah could be deported, authorities said.

The bond set Tuesday by U.S. Magistrate Judge Nita Stormes was 25 times higher than the amount set in a typical immigration violation case, federal officials said.

And if he is released, Abdoulah will be required to wear an electronic monitoring bracelet and won’t be allowed to leave the San Diego area.

Kerry L. Steigerwalt, another of Abdoulah’s attorneys, said his client was nevertheless ``thrilled″ with Stormes’ ruling. But Steigerwalt expressed doubts over whether Abdoulah’s supporters in the local Muslim community would raise the bond money.

Upon his release, Stormes ordered Abdoulah to reside at a local mosque. Mosque leaders have agreed to take him.

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