Tuesday, May 31, 2005

US charges two with conspiring to aid al Qaeda

Associated Press:

Rafiq Abdus Sabir

In the days before their arrest on terrorism charges, two American citizens swore a formal oath of loyalty to Al Qaeda as they conspired to use their skills in martial arts and medicine to aid international terrorism, prosecutors say.

Dr. Rafiq Abdus Sabir, 50, of Boca Raton, Fla., and Tarik Shah, 42, of New York, were to make their first appearances Tuesday in federal courthouses in Fort Pierce, Fla., and Manhattan, respectively.

The names of their lawyers were not available Monday.

The men were arrested Friday on a charge they conspired to provide material support to Al Qaeda, an FBI agent said. If convicted, each could face a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison and a fine up to $250,000.

The one-count complaint details a sting operation from 2003 to 2005 in which the two men took an oath pledging their allegiance to Al Qaeda.

Prosecutors said Sabir, an Ivy League-educated doctor, agreed to treat jihadists, or holy warriors, in Saudi Arabia. Shah, a jazz musician and a self-described martial arts expert, allegedly agreed to train them in hand-to-hand combat.

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