Florida Doctor Sentenced To 25 Years For Supporting Al Qaeda

LAWFUEL – The Legal Newswire – MICHAEL J. GARCIA, United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that RAFIQ SABIR was
sentenced today in Manhattan federal court to 25 years in prison
by United States District Judge LORETTA A. PRESKA. On May 21,
2007, SABIR was convicted after a five-week jury trial of
conspiring to provide material support or resources to the al
Qaeda terrorist organization and of attempting to provide
material support or resources to al Qaeda, after pledging an oath
of loyalty to al Qaeda and OSAMA BIN LADEN in a ceremony recorded
by an undercover FBI agent.

According to the evidence at trial:
SABIR conspired with his good friend, TARIK SHAH, to
provide martial arts training and medical assistance to al Qaeda,
through a man whom they believed to be a recruiter for the
terrorist organization. The recruiter was in fact an FBI agent,
acting undercover, who recorded numerous conversations with SABIR
and SHAH, including the May 2005 ceremony in the Bronx. During
that meeting, SABIR and SHAH pledged “bayat,” or allegiance, to
OSAMA BIN LADEN and al Qaeda, and agreed to provide SABIR’s
medical expertise and SHAH’s martial arts expertise to train al
Qaeda fighters.

From September 2003 through May 2005, SHAH engaged in
multiple meetings and conversations, first with a confidential
source (the “CS”) and later with the FBI undercover agent (the
“UC”). In these conversations, the vast majority of which were
recorded, SHAH discussed his desire and intent to aid al Qaeda,
and repeatedly discussed his friend, who was a doctor, as being
someone who shared his desire. For example, SHAH repeatedly
indicated his desire to train Muslim “brothers” in the martial
arts to help them wage jihad, and to find people who were willing
to press the fight. When meeting the UC for the first time, SHAH
offered himself and SABIR as a “package.” SHAH also took steps
to find locations where jihad training could be conducted and
weapons could be machined. In addition, SHAH told the UC and the
CS of his discussions with SABIR regarding their desire to move
to Afghanistan in 1998, when it was under the control of the
Taliban, and of his intention to attend terrorist training camps
there.

At the meeting on May 20, 2005, in the presence of the
UC and under the impression that the UC had the authority of al
Qaeda, SABIR and SHAH took “bayat” — pledging an oath of loyalty
to al Qaeda, and committing themselves to the path of Holy War,
to the oath of secrecy, and to abide by the directives of al
Qaeda and its leaders, including OSAMA BIN LADEN and AYMAN AL
ZAWAHIRI. During that discussion, SABIR stated that he and SHAH
had been “talking about this for a long time.” SABIR also told
the UC that he would soon be returning to Saudi Arabia for two
years to work at a hospital in Riyadh, and that he enjoyed
extraordinary freedom of movement within that country. Evidence
at trial established that al Qaeda has engaged in a long-running
terror campaign within Saudi Arabia that began in May 2003. Also
at the May 2005 meeting, SABIR wrote down his telephone numbers
in code, and gave them to the UC for the UC to provide to the
“brothers” in Saudi Arabia, inviting them to call him and
expressing his desire to meet them.

SABIR has been detained at the Metropolitan
Correctional Center since shortly after his arrest on May 28,
2005. SABIR, 53, formerly lived in Florida.

The three other defendants in this case, TARIK SHAH,
MAHMUD FARUQ BRENT, a/k/a “Mahmud Al Mutazzim,” and ABDULRAHMAN
FARHANE, were sentenced by Judge PRESKA to 15 years, 15 years,
and 13 years, respectively, following their guilty pleas.
Mr. GARCIA praised the efforts of the New York Joint
Terrorism Task Force, including the Federal Bureau of
Investigation and the New York City Police Department, for their
extraordinary efforts in the investigation of this case.
Assistant United States Attorneys JENNIFER G. RODGERS
and KARL METZNER are in charge of the prosecution.
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