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Imam Linked to Zazi Avoids Jail, but Must Leave U.S.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

(AP) - An Afghanistan-born imam linked to the suspects in an aborted suicide bomb plot against New York City subway stations has dodged jail time, but he must leave the country within 90 days.

Ahmad Afzali pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI in a deal sparing him serious jail time. He faced up to six months in prison.

In a tearful statement Thursday in Brooklyn federal court, he said he never intended to help the suspects.

Afzali said he didn't know what country he would go to.

He was arrested in September as federal authorities scrambled to thwart a plot by Najibullah Zazi, a Colorado airport van driver who is the case's principal suspect. Afzali has said he had wanted to help authorities but lied under grilling by the FBI about his phone conversations with Zazi.

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