Atef Hasan Ismail Idais, 28, says he is not a member of Hamas.

He told a US court on Friday: "I have never been a member of Hamas," and accused Israeli officials of coercing a confession through torture, tying him to a child's chair in a windowless cell for weeks.

His lawyer, Robert Miller, said the conviction in Israel was "not worth the paper it is printed on".

Idais was sentenced by a judge on Thursday to a year in prison, which he has served since his arrest in September 2004. He could be released as early as Friday.

Upon his release he will be handed-over to immigration authorities who intend to deport him, Assistant US Attorney Nancy Winter told the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Married to a US citizen

Idais, who has lived in the US since 2000, is married to an American citizen, and they have two children, a three-year-old and an 18-month-old daughter.

"I have never been a member of Hamas"

Atef Hasan Ismail Idais

He was arrested last year for making a false statement on a US visa application.

He pleaded no contest and faced up to six months in prison under sentencing guidelines, but US District Judge John Padova said the case was unusual because of his "terrorism conviction".

Winter accused Idais of lying repeatedly and trying to manipulate the court and immigration service.

Student visa


He had entered the United States on a student visa, but he never attended college.

He was charged with failing to disclose a 1999 conviction in Israel for throwing stones, disturbing the peace, and membership in Hamas.

Idais also said he planned to attend a US university, but his family had run out of money.