PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) – A federal court threw out the case Monday against an Oregon lawyer arrested in connection with the Madrid train bombings, citing a fingerprint-identification error by the FBI.

Brandon Mayfield, a 37-year-old American convert to Islam, was released from custody last week. But he was not altogether cleared of suspicion at the time; the government said he remained a “material witness” and put restrictions on his movements.

Those restrictions were lifted Monday.

“Due to the misidentification by the FBI of a fingerprint, the court orders the material witness proceeding dismissed,” read a statement posted on the U.S. District Court’s Web site. “The court orders all property seized to be returned to the material witness.”

Furthermore, the court said that any copies of Mayfield’s property held by the federal government were to be destroyed, and that all documents in the case would be unsealed.

Mayfield was arrested May 6, after FBI agents raided his suburban home in Aloha, Ore.

FBI officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, had said that his fingerprint matched one found on a bag of detonators near the train station in Madrid in the deadly March 11 bombing.

But last week, Spanish authorities said the fingerprints of an Algerian man were on the bag.

Family members said that even after Mayfield’s release last week, he was not allowed to leave Oregon and he had to ask for permission to leave his house.

AP-ES-05-24-04 1512EDT



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