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Tuesday, 9 April, 2002, 18:49 GMT 19:49 UK
US indicts four on terror charges
The 1993 World Trade Center bomb attack
Rahman plotted to blow up the World Trade Center
Four people have been indicted in the US for aiding a radical Islamic group led by a blind Egyptian cleric, in jail for trying to blow up New York buildings.

The four include a lawyer and a translator for Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman, imprisoned in the US for his role in planning terror attacks in New York, including the 1993 plot to blow up the World Trade Center.

Rahman used communications with Stewart, translated by Yousry, to pass messages to and receive messages from Sattar, Al-Sirri and other Islamic Group member

John Ashcroft
They were charged with providing material support and resources to the Egyptian organisation, known as the Islamic Group, through various means.

They are accused of passing messages regarding the group's activities to and from Rahman during prison visits and telephone calls.

The four are named as Lynne Stewart - one of Rahman's lawyers, Ahmed Sattar - a paralegal for the sheikh, Yassir Al-Sirri and Mohammed Yousry, who is an Arabic translator.

Lawyers monitored

US Attorney General John Ashcroft said communications between Rahman and his attorneys had been monitored because of Rahman's determination to "exploit" the rights guaranteed under the US justice system.

Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman
Rahman is serving a life sentence

The indictment charges that the defendants violated "Special Administrative Measures" restricting the blind cleric's communications with the outside world.

"Rahman used communications with Stewart, translated by Yousry, to pass messages to and receive messages from Sattar, Al-Sirri and other Islamic Group members," Mr Ashcroft said.

Rules tightened

The special rules were imposed on Rahman in 1997, stopping him from passing or receiving written or recorded communications from other inmates, prison guards or people outside the prison, Mr Ashcroft said.

These restrictions were later tightened further to prohibit Rahman from communicating with members of the media, either in person or through his lawyers.

"Today's indictment charges that Lynne Stewart and Mohammed Yousry repeatedly and wilfully violated these orders, in order to maintain Sheikh Abdel Rahman's influence over the terrorist activities of the Islamic Group," Mr Ashcroft said.

Rahman's organisation, the Islamic Group, operates globally with an "active" membership in the United States, Mr Ashcroft said.

It is believed to have links to Osama Bin Laden's al-Qaeda network, which Washington accuses of carrying out the 11 September attacks in Washington and New York.

The BBC's Jane Standley
"One of those indicted is an American citizen"
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