- The Washington Times - Saturday, May 18, 2002

ALEXANDRIA A Connecticut man who spent time with some of the September 11 hijackers was sentenced yesterday to six months in jail for identification fraud.

Eyad Alrababah, of Bridgeport, Conn., admitted helping a New Jersey man obtain fake identification.

Alrababah went to federal authorities on Sept. 29 when he saw pictures of the September 11 hijackers. He told agents that he had spent time with some of them in Virginia and Connecticut.

Authorities had suspected that Alrababah may have alerted those hijackers to the opportunity to get fake IDs from the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles through a loophole that allowed people to get drivers' licenses and ID cards without proof of residency or identity. The loophole was plugged 10 days after the attacks.

At the sentencing yesterday, U.S. District Judge Gerald Bruce Lee told Alrababah that "there is no indication that your acts were connected" to the hijackings.

Alrababah's attorney Frank Salvato said he was satisfied with the sentence. "Mr. Alrababah tried to come forward and do the right thing. He provided valuable information. He's glad this whole event is behind him and ultimately he does not regret the decision to come forward."

Alrababah told the judge before he was sentenced, "May Allah bless you and keep America safe forever."

Initially, Alrababah had wanted to go to trial because he felt he had been treated unfairly by the federal government. But he changed his mind last month and pleaded guilty.

Because Alrababah has been detained since November, he is eligible to be released. Sentencing guidelines called for a jail term of six months to a year.

His sentence is roughly in line with that received by about a half-dozen defendants who were convicted of ID fraud discovered as a result of the September 11 investigation.

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