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Churchill: After Schoharie crash, more doubts about imam's...

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01.06.2019

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ALBANY — Three days after Yassin Aref was released from federal prison, a limousine with failing brakes accelerated down a hill in Schoharie and crashed near the Apple Barrel Country Store, killing 20 people.

The two, seemingly unrelated events last October have a connection. Aref's prison sentence and the unbearably tragic limo crash are tied to the same man.

Shahed Hussain.

Hussain was the confidential informant who, seeking to avoid a long prison term for a scam in Albany involving fake driver's licenses, provided the "evidence" used to convict Aref for money laundering. The infamous FBI anti-terrorism sting, which also sent an Albany pizza shop owner to prison, is widely viewed as an injustice amid post-9/11 hysteria.

Nearly eight months after his release from prison, Aref is still sitting in an Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention center in York, Pa. Now 49, he wants and expects to be deported to his native Iraq. But that hasn't happened, and his longtime lawyer will argue in federal court Friday for his release until deportation.

Hussain is in Pakistan and won't be returning to the United States any time soon.

He is, of course, the owner of Prestige Limousine, the........

© Times Union