National

Man gets suspended term for illegal stay

Bangladeshi with suspected connection to al-Qaeda now faces deportation

A Bangladeshi man suspected of having links to alleged al-Qaeda member Lionel Dumont was handed a 30-month sentence Monday, suspended for five years, for violating immigration laws.

Mohamed Muktar Hossain, 30, was arrested in May for possessing a forged passport after police found him hiding in the closet of an apartment owned by Ryo International, a cellular phone sales company based in Kawaguchi, Saitama Prefecture.

A court proceeding to determine his deportation will be held at a future date.

At his first trial session at the Tokyo District Court, Hossain, 30, said: “I only wanted to make money in Japan. I will never return here again.”

Ryo International had been in contact with Dumont, a French national of Algerian descent who is believed to have connections with members of al-Qaeda. Prosecutors alleged that Hossain was also linked to the terrorist group.

Dumont lived in Japan for a year before being arrested in Germany in 2003.

Hossain had told investigators that he worked for Ryo International but later said he actually worked at a restaurant in Tokyo’s Odaiba district, according to presiding Judge Yoshimitsu Goda.

Hossain told the judge he had lied about working for Ryo International because “I didn’t want my colleagues at the restaurant to think I was a liar.”

He claimed his friend lived in the Kawaguchi apartment.

Hossain first entered Japan in October 1996, using a forged passport. He was deported in December 1999 and returned the following February, staying until his arrest in May.

Ryo International owner Islam Mohamed Himu, 33, a Bangladeshi national, and two of the firm’s employees — Bangladeshi Ahmed Faishal, 26, and Kane Yaya, 41, of Mali — were also arrested and indicted on immigration law violations.

Investigators suspect Giant International, another cell phone sales firm owned by Himu that is based in Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture, was a possible base for an attack on a nearby U.S. military base.

On July 8, Himu was fined for employing foreigners without proper visas and released.

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