The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan on Friday upheld the terror-support conviction of Dr. Rafiq Sabir, a doctor living in Boca Raton, Fla. In 2007, he was sentenced to 25 years in prison for providing material support to al-Qaida. Sabir was convicted after a five-week trial in which prosecutors presented evidence that he and a friend, Tarik Shah, conspired to provide the terrorist group with medical assistance and martial-arts training.
Sabir was arrested in a sting operation involving an al-Qaida "recruiter" who was actually an undercover FBI agent. At a May 2005 meeting, Sabir and Shah took an oath of loyalty to the terrorist organization, pledging to follow the orders of Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri. They were arrested eight days later.
Sabir told the undercover agent that he would be spending two years working at a hospital in Saudi Arabia and that he had considerable freedom of movement there. Evidence presented at trial showed that al-Qaida had been waging a terror campaign inside Saudi Arabia since May 2003. Sabir wrote down his telephone numbers in code and gave them to the agent to provide to the "brothers" in Saudi Arabia.
In secretly recorded conversations, Shah said he had trained Muslim fighters and that he would like to learn about "explosives and firearms" and "chemical stuff." At one meeting, he smiled at a girl standing nearby and told the undercover FBI agent: "I could be joking and smiling and then cutting their throats in the next second."
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