updated 10/2/2006 9:54:30 AM ET 2006-10-02T13:54:30

Two American citizens related to a California man who was convicted of supporting terrorists flew home from Pakistan, five months after they were barred from returning to the United States for refusing an FBI interrogation, their attorney said.

Muhammad Ismail, 45, and his son, Jaber, 19, arrived at New York’s Kennedy Airport on Sunday afternoon, according to Julia Harumi Mass, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California. They were scheduled to take a connecting flight to San Francisco on Monday, she said.

The Ismails are an uncle and cousin of Hamid Hayat, 23, of Lodi, who was convicted in April of one count of providing material support to terrorists and three counts of lying about it to FBI agents.

His father, Umer Hayat, was convicted of lying to investigators about the amount of cash he carried to Pakistan on a 2003 trip, but a jury deadlocked on terrorism charges.

In April, the Ismails were barred from boarding a connecting flight to San Francisco from Hong Kong and returned to Pakistan. There, Jaber Ismail was questioned by FBI agents, but the two refused further interviews and a polygraph.

‘I always wanted to return home’
After complaining to the federal government, Mass received a letter last month from the Department of Homeland Security suggesting the two were cleared to fly.

“I never imagined that the country I was born in would stop me from coming home for five months and separate me from my family, especially when I was not even charged with a crime,” Jaber Ismail said in a statement Sunday. “I went to Pakistan for religious studies, but I knew that I always wanted to return home to California.”

A message left with FBI officials in San Francisco was not immediately returned late Sunday.

Mass said the government never told the men the specific reasons they couldn’t return home, the nature of the allegations or what they wanted to question them about. The men had listed Umer Hayat as a contact on their passport, she said.

“I have missed my wife and young children very much,” Muhammad Ismail said in a statement. “My wish is that this never happens to anyone else.”

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