Skip to comments.Egyptian accused of plotting to kill Afghan northern alliance leader freed, re-arrested
Posted on 05/16/2002 11:32:00 PM PDT by Prodigal SonEdited on 07/06/2004 6:37:31 PM PDT by Jim Robinson. [history]
LONDON (AP) -- An Egyptian man accused of conspiring to assassinate an Afghan northern alliance leader was freed Thursday after a terrorist charge against him was dismissed -- but was immediately re-arrested on an extradition warrant from the United States.
(Excerpt) Read more at nj.com ...
LONDON (AP) An Egyptian activist accused by U.S. authorities of aiding a Muslim cleric with links to the al-Qaida terrorist network professed his innocence during a court hearing Friday.
The United States is seeking to extradite Yassir el-Sirri, who lives in London, on charges of sending money to the Afghanistan-based family of Omar Abdel-Rahman, a Muslim cleric identified as the leader of an al-Qaida-linked terrorist organization known as the Islamic Group.
``I would like to make it known that I am innocent and what the United States government is doing is just fabricating a case against me. I am innocent,'' el-Sirri said through an interpreter.
El-Sirri, who is free on bail, was not asked to enter a formal plea during the hearing at Bow Street Magistrates Court.
Abdel-Rahman is serving a life sentence in the United States for plotting to blow up New York City landmarks in the 1990s. El-Sirri was one of four people charged in New York last month with helping Abdel-Rahman spread terrorist messages.
The U.S. extradition warrant alleges that el-Sirri, 39, sent money to Afghanistan in May 2001, ``knowing or having reasonable cause to suspect that the money would or may be used for the purpose of terrorism within the jurisdiction of the government of the U.S.A.''
Lawyers for el-Sirri said that their client ran a London-based Islamic organization that regularly sent money to the families of Islamic prisoners. They argued the money sent to Afghanistan, which amounted only to a few hundred dollars, was part of his usual humanitarian work and was not terrorist funding.
El-Sirri was arrested in Britain in October and charged with conspiring to assassinate Afghan northern alliance leader Ahmed Shah Massood. Massood was mortally wounded in Afghanistan by two suicide bombers on Sept. 9.
British prosecutors accused el-Sirri of using his organization, the Islamic Observation Center, to give fake journalistic credentials to two men who detonated a bomb hidden in their camera while they interviewed Massood.
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