A federal immigration judge has ruled that federal authorities lack sufficient reason to continue holding a South Portland man who was jailed on an immigration violation while the government investigated the attempted May 1 car bombing in Times Square.

Judge Brenda O’Malley, during a hearing held Tuesday in Boston, reinstated $10,000 cash bail for Mohammad Shafiq Rahman, a 33-year-old Pakistani man who had been living in South Portland with his wife.

Rahman, who has been held at the Cumberland County Jail in Portland, was transferred to Boston on Tuesday morning.

He was being held Tuesday night at the Suffolk County Jail in Boston, according to Ross Feinstein, a spokesman for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.

Sara Rahman, Rahman’s American-born wife, appeared in court with her husband but could not be reached Tuesday.

“Both of us have relied on our love for each other to get through this,” Sara Rahman told The Boston Globe. “Throughout all of this, he’s continued to give me strength and support.”

O’Malley’s ruling means that Rahman could be freed as soon as today.

Barry Hoffman, honorary consulate general of Pakistan, has been staying in touch with Rahman and his family.

“The family has raised the money for his bail,” he said Tuesday.

Hoffman said Rahman’s bail was revoked a few weeks ago after the federal prosecutor in the case, Richard Neville, convinced a judge to take that action.

“He (Rahman) is a very quiet, gentle person. He is not bitter. But he remains perplexed as to why this is happening to him,” Hoffman said.

Rahman was one of three Pakistani men charged with immigration violations during the inquiry into the attempted Times Square bombing in May.

Rahman, a computer programmer, came to the United States legally in 1999, has no criminal record and got married in March. He is accused of overstaying his visa.

In the past, Rahman’s attorney, Cynthia Arn, has asserted that Rahman has no connection to Faisal Shahzad, who pleaded guilty in June to 10 terrorism and weapons charges in the Times Square car bombing.

Arn has said her client knew Shahzad when they lived in Connecticut a decade ago because they were both part of the Pakistani community. She said the men have not spoken in years.

Arn, a Portland-based attorney, also could not be reached Tuesday.

Kathryn Mattingly, spokesperson for the U.S. Justice Department’s Executive Office for Immigration Review, confirmed that O’Malley, the judge, reinstated the $10,000 bail following a hearing Tuesday morning.

Mattingly said the bail amount had originally been set June 28 but was revoked by Immigration Judge Francis L. Cramer. That decision was made at the urging of officials from Immigration and Customs Enforcement based on their continuing investigation.

The next court date for Rahman is Sept. 14, Mattingly said. The September hearing is an opportunity for Rahman and his attorney to argue that he should be allowed to stay in the U.S. because of his marriage.

Because of his lengthy detention, Rahman has lost his job as a computer specialist at Artist & Craftsman Supply in Portland.

Rahman was hired last summer to oversee the computer network that links 15 Artist & Crafstman stores nationwide.

He had worked there until his arrest May 13.

The company’s owner, Larry Adlerstein, said Rahman was a conscientous and talented employee. Adlerstein said he wanted to keep Rahman on staff but was forced to bring in another computer specialist.

“I held his job for about six weeks. I’m running a 15-store company, and we depended on Shafiq,” Adlerstein said in an interview earlier this month. “We stretched it and stretched it as long as we could.”

Adlerstein said he and others who worked closely with Rahman never believed he was a threat or had ties to terrorism, but at the same time they had to respect the decisions made by government agencies.

“It has been difficult. I made a statement to the public that a person is innocent until proven guilty,” he said. “The mechanism for justice for people who are not from this country doesn’t work that way.”

 

– Staff Writer Trevor Maxwell contributed to this report.

 

Staff Writer Dennis Hoey can be contacted at 791-6365 or at: [email protected]