A US court rejected a government request to keep incarcerated top fundraiser for an Islamic charity the government alleges has ties to terrorism, his attorneys said.
The move by the San Francisco-based 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals came days after US District Judge Terry Hatter ordered the release of Abdel-Jabbar Hamdan, 45, according to one of his attorneys, Ranjana Natarajan of the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California.
The appeals court on Monday denied the government's emergency motion to stay the lower court's order.
"Appellants shall release (Hamdan) forthwith," the court said in its decision.
It was unclear whether the government might appeal to the US Supreme Court. Hamdan was to be released on Monday evening, the ACLU said. He has been held at the Terminal Island federal detention facility in San Pedro, California, for more than two years.
"We're aware of the court's ruling and we're reviewing our options," said Virginia Kice, spokeswoman for US Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Hamdan, who founded a mosque in Anaheim, California, was arrested on immigration charges in July 2004 as federal authorities unsealed an indictment against the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development.
The government charged that the Texas-based charity funnelled millions to the Palestinian militant group Hamas.
The following month, Hamdan was ordered deported on the immigration charges. His requests to be released on bond while he fights the charges had been denied until last week.