updated 9/2/2008 6:53:16 PM ET 2008-09-02T22:53:16

A former Florida professor once accused of being a leading Palestinian terrorist has been released for the first time in more than five years.

Immigration authorities released Sami Al-Arian on Tuesday. They were holding him for refusing to testify before a grand jury about a cluster of Muslim organizations in northern Virginia.

The former University of South Florida professor has been in immigration custody since finishing a sentence on separate charges. He had been accused of being a leader of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, but he was acquitted on many of those charges and a jury deadlocked on others. He eventually pleaded guilty to lesser charges.

Prosecutors opposed his release. He will be in home detention while he awaits trial.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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