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Last Updated: Monday, 16 October 2006, 21:39 GMT 22:39 UK
US lawyer jailed on terror charge
Lynne Stewart arrives at court for her sentencing
Ms Stewart told the judge she was not a traitor
A US civil rights lawyer convicted of aiding terrorism by passing messages from a jailed client to his followers has been imprisoned for 28 months.

Lynne Stewart, 67, was found guilty in February 2005 of helping Islamic cleric Omar Abdel Rahman contact radical disciples in Egypt.

Abdel Rahman was jailed for life in 1995 for planning attacks in New York.

Prosecutors had recommended Ms Stewart, who told the judge she was not a traitor, be given a 30-year sentence.

Before the trial, the veteran attorney had asked for leniency.

"The government's characterisation of me and what occurred is inaccurate and untrue," she wrote in a letter to the judge.

"It takes unfair advantage of the climate of urgency and hysteria that followed 9/11."

But prosecutors said during the trial that by passing messages from Abdel Rahman, Ms Stewart broke government restrictions on his right to communicate with the outside world.

Some of the messages to the cleric's overseas followers included incitement to violence, they said.

Announcing the sentence, US District Judge John Koeltl described Ms Stewart's actions as "extraordinarily severe criminal conduct", the Associated Press reported.

But he said that in her 30-year career representing many controversial figures, she had "performed a public service, not only to her clients, but to the nation".

Well-known

Ms Stewart - the only US lawyer to face charges linked to terrorism - has become a well-known figure, with clients ranging from gangsters to left-wing activists.

Since her indictment in 2002, she has spoken at rallies and been the subject of a television documentary. Her sentencing was delayed while she underwent treatment for breast cancer.

Supporters of the lawyer gathered at the court in New York, carrying banners and chanting slogans.

Two co-defendants were also sentenced.

US postal worker Ahmed Sattar was given 24 years in prison for conspiracy to murder, while Arabic translator Mohammed Yousry received a 20-month jail term for supporting the conspiracy.





SEE ALSO
US lawyer guilty of terror charge
11 Feb 05 |  Americas
US indicts four on terror charges
09 Apr 02 |  Americas
Life for World Trade Centre bomber
09 Jan 98 |  In Depth

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