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Suspect in Aiding Terrorist Group Again Refused Bail

August 02, 2003|From Associated Press

NEW YORK — A judge Friday declined to set bail conditions for a former postal worker who has been held without bail since he was arrested more than a year ago and accused of assisting a terrorist organization.

U.S. District Judge John G. Koeltl told lawyers that his decision to drop the top two charges in an indictment against Ahmed Abdel Sattar and his co-defendants still left Sattar facing charges that carry the possibility of 25 years or more in prison.

"The incentive to flee is great," Koeltl said after a lawyer for Sattar argued that Sattar's strong family ties to America and a $3-million bail package would be enough to guarantee that his client would show up for a January trial.

Koeltl said Sattar still was charged with "very serious crimes of violence" alleging that he provided communications and other assistance to further the aims of the Islamic Group, a radical terrorist group based in Egypt.

Last month, Koeltl struck down charges that Sattar and three others provided material support to terrorist organizations.

The dismissal of two counts eliminated the bulk of the case against Sattar's co-defendant, civil rights lawyer Lynne Stewart, who still faces a fraud charge and one count saying she lied to the government.

Prosecutors say she and co-defendants Mohammed Yousry, an Arabic translator, and Sattar helped relay messages from blind Egyptian cleric Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman to the Islamic Group.

According to an indictment, they conspired to provide communications equipment, personnel, currency, financial securities and financial services to the Islamic Group.

All three have pleaded not guilty.

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