Federal Judge Orders Release of Chemistry Instructor Syed Jamal Amid Immigration Case

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Lawrence chemist Syed Jamal’s release from the Platte County Jail was so quick, his family wasn’t there yet when he walked out the doors, carrying a sack of clothes and a stack of books.

A group of reporters met him outside, instead.

After he called his wife, he talked about how it felt to walk out those doors.

“In prison, you hardly have any individuality, your identity. You feel like you are your own person again. And freedom — feels much better. Liberating, yeah,” Jamal said.

ICE agents arrested Jamal on his front lawn nearly two months ago because of a complication with overstaying his visa. He was almost deported back to Bangladesh. His team of lawyers filed appeal after appeal. On Tuesday, a federal judge ordered Jamal to be released while an immigration board reviews the case.

People in the courtroom cheered when Judge Roseann Ketchmark ordered the release.

Jamal, 55, has been in the Platte County jail since mid-February. The native of Bangladesh has lived in the United States for roughly 30 years.

Jamal ran to meet his wife, Angela Chowdhury, and their three kids in an emotional reunion.

“Dad, I haven’t seen you in forever!” their seven-year-old son said.

Chowdhury said the last couple months have been unbearably hard, but Tuesday was the moment they’ve been waiting for.

“I can touch him and talk to him. The children are very happy. I can’t explain, I’m so happy. We are so happy and thankful to everyone,” Chowdhury said.

Jamal said the first thing he is going to do when he gets home is spend time with his family and friends and eat some good food.

“They were telling me school food and jail food, they share some things in common. They’re both bad!” Jamal joked.

When Jamal was arrested, officials said the Park University instructor was being deported because he was not in the country under full legal status.

The Board of Immigration Appeals granted Jamal a stay of deportation in mid-February.

By Charlie Keegan for KSHB
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