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Terror charges against Florida imam dismissed by judge

Joseph Rosenbaum P.A. / AP

In this photo made available by the defendant's lawyers, Izhar Khan, right, stands with attorney Joseph Rosenbaum outside the Federal Courthouse in Miami on Thursday.

A federal judge on Thursday dismissed charges of terrorism support and conspiracy against a Muslim cleric accused of funneling thousands of dollars to the Pakistani Taliban, citing a lack of evidence.  

Izhar Khan, 26, an imam in South Florida, stood accused of the charges along with his father, but U.S. District Court Judge Robert Scola issued a verdict acquitting him. Scola ruled there was insufficient evidence against Khan, who is the imam of Masjid Jamaat Al-Mumineen mosque in Margate, Fla.

“I do not believe in good conscience that I can allow the case to go forward against Izhar Khan,” Scola said, The Miami Herald reported. “This court will not allow the sins of the father to be visited upon the son.”

Khan was immediately freed following the judge's decision. 

“I’m happy with the justice system, to say the least, and I think justice was served,” Khan told the Miami Herald.

“[Izhar] is the baby of the [Khan] family,” Joseph Rosenbaum told reporters outside the courtroom with fellow defense attorney Marshall Dore Louis and members of Khan’s mosque. “I never saw the evidence against him. He was always innocent.”

Trial for Khan's father, 77 year-old Hafiz Khan, is expected to continue in federal court. The two had been held at a federal detention center since they were arrested in 2011, accused of funneling about $50,000 to the Taliban. Hafiz is also on trial on four terrorism support-related charges, which each carry a maximum 15-year prison sentence, The Associated Press reported.

Charges against another of Hafiz Khan’s sons were dropped earlier by prosecutors.