Friday, November 30, 2007

West Boca doctor linked to al-Qaida gets 25 years in prison

from wire reports and The Sun-Sentinel (US: Florida)

For about six months in late 2003 Dr. Rafiq Sabir worked at Glades General Hospital in Belle Glade. Federal agents had begun tracking him in late 2002, monitoring his travel to Saudi Arabia, where he was employed at a military base hospital and documenting his phone conversations about joining al-Qaida. Authorities raided his home, in a gated community west of Boca Raton, in May 2005. Sabir insisted that co-defendant Tarik Shah had duped him into taking an oath with an FBI agent who posed as an al-Qaida recruiter, never explaining that he was pledging loyalty to al-Qaida or its leader, Osama bin Laden. U.S. District Judge Loretta A. Preska concluded Sabir perjured himself when he testified during trial that he did not understand the accent of the FBI agent during the pledging ceremony and did not realize al-Qaida was said or that references to an Osama were about bin Laden. The judge also said there was "no reason to believe that this defendant has abandoned any criminal intentions."

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