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Lynne Stewart - lawyer of Abdel Rahman found guilty of aiding terrorists -complete indictment

Letters smuggled out of prison by lawyer of 'Blink Sheik' meant to incite terrorist attacks by his followers
February 10, 2005

Lynne Stewart after her conviction

Lynne Stewart leaves court,0,4400439,print.story?coll=nyc-manheadlines-manhattan

February 10, 2005, 5:50 PM EST

Veteran civil rights lawyer Lynne Stewart was convicted Thursday of helping terrorists by smuggling messages of violence from one of her imprisoned clients -- a radical Egyptian sheik -- to his terrorist disciples on the outside.

The verdict left Stewart, 65, a firebrand, left-wing activist who has represented radicals and revolutionaries in 30 years on the New York legal scene, slumped in her chair, shaking her head and later wiping tears from her eyes.

About two dozen Stewart supporters followed her out of court, chanting, "Hands off Lynne Stewart!"

There, she vowed to appeal and blamed the conviction on evidence that included videotape of Osama bin Laden urging support for her client, Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman, who prosecutors said communicated with the outside world with Stewart's help.

"When you put Osama bin Laden in a courtroom and ask the jury to ignore it, you're asking a lot," she said. "I know I committed no crime. I know what I did was right."

Stewart, wiping away tears that she said stemmed from worries about how her family will do without her, continued: "We are not going to give up. We're going to fight on. This is the beginning of a larger struggle."

The anonymous jury also convicted a U.S. postal worker, Ahmed Abdel Sattar, of conspiracy for plotting to "kill and kidnap persons in a foreign country" by publishing an edict urging the killing of Jews and their supporters. A third defendant, Arabic interpreter Mohamed Yousry, was convicted of providing material support to terrorists. Sattar could face life in prison and Yousry up to 20 years.

The verdict came from a jury that has deliberated off-and-on over the past month in the case on charges that carry a potential of 45 years in prison for Stewart, although lawyers have said it was likely Stewart would face a sentence of about 20 years.

As the verdict was read, Stewart's supporters gasped. She will remain free on bail but must stay in New York until her July 15 sentencing. Stewart was convicted of conspiracy, providing material support to terrorists, defrauding the United States and making false statements.

The trial focused attention on the line between zealous advocacy and criminal behavior by a lawyer. Some defense lawyers saw the case as a government warning to attorneys to tread carefully in terrorism cases.

"The purpose of this prosecution ... was to send a message to lawyers who represent alleged terrorists that it's dangerous to do so," said Michael Ratner, president of the Center for Constitutional Rights, who was not involved in the case.

However, Peter Margulies, a law professor at Roger Williams University in Rhode Island who conducted a panel on lawyers and terrorism at the American Association of Law Schools' recent annual meeting, called the verdict reasonable.

"I think lawyers need to be advocates, but they don't need to be accomplices," he said. "I think the evidence suggested that Lynne Stewart had crossed the line."

The jury heard two vastly different portraits of Stewart. Prosecutors described her as an essential and willing aide to terrorists, while defense attorney Michael Tigar focused on a lengthy legal career of representing the destitute and the despised.

The trial before U.S. District Judge John G. Koeltl began in late June 2004, with prosecutor Christopher Morvillo telling the jury in his opening statement that Stewart "used her status as a lawyer as a cloak to smuggle messages into and out of prison." He said she allowed Abdel-Rahman, the blind sheik, to "incite terrorism."

Abdel-Rahman was sentenced to life in prison after his 1995 conviction for conspiring to assassinate Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak and destroy several New York City landmarks. His lawyer was Stewart, whose client list includes Weather Underground radicals and mob turncoat Sammy "The Bull" Gravano.

Stewart repeatedly declared her innocence during the trial, maintaining she was unfairly targeted by overeager prosecutors. She testified on her own behalf as well, saying she believed violence was sometimes necessary to rid society of evil -- even in America.

"To rid ourselves of the entrenched, voracious type of capitalism that is in this country that perpetuates sexism and racism, I don't think that can come nonviolently," she said.

Prosecutors said Stewart broke a promise to the government by letting outsiders communicate with the sheik, who was in solitary confinement under special prison rules designed to stop him from communicating with anyone except his wife and his lawyers.

Tigar suggested the case was an intrusion into attorney-client privilege as the government eavesdropped on prison conversations between Stewart and the sheik.

Videotape of those prison conferences, along with audio transmissions and accompanying translations of telephone calls between Sattar and terrorists in other countries, provided the bulk of the government's case against the defendants.

In particular, prosecutors said Stewart's release of a statement withdrawing the sheik's support for a cease-fire in Egypt by his militant followers proved her guilt.

The judge warned jurors before the case began that it had nothing to do with the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

The evidence, though, included video images of bin Laden at a meeting with one of the sheik's sons and a bin Laden associate who spoke by telephone with Sattar. Another piece of evidence was a fiery message sent by the sheik with the words, "From the American Prison."

"Drown (American) ships, shoot down their airplanes, kill them on earth in the sea or in the sky, kill them everywhere you find them," he said, according to the government exhibit.


By Jeremy Cooke
BBC News, New York

A US civil rights lawyer has been convicted of supporting terrorists by smuggling messages from one of her convicted clients to followers.

Lynne Stewart, 65, had been representing radical Egyptian cleric Omar Abdel Rahman, who was serving a life sentence on terror charges.

He was convicted in 1996 for planning attacks in New York.

Prosecutors accused Stewart of crossing the line between advocacy and involvement in terrorist activities.

Prison sentence awaited

She is a veteran civil rights lawyer with a reputation for bringing her firebrand left-wing politics to the courtroom.

In her 30 years on the New York legal scene, Stewart has represented a series of radicals and revolutionaries.

But it was her relationship with a blind Arab cleric which put her in the dock.

The court heard that she had abused lawyer-client privilege by taking messages from Abdel Rahman's prison cell to his radical followers in the outside world.

Prosecutor Andrew Dember said Stewart had effectively broken her client out of prison by re-establishing his contacts with active terrorists.

She remained quiet and unemotional as the jury returned its verdict after almost a month of deliberation.

She faces up to 15 years in jail.


MIM :The terror network of Al Muhajiroun includes the followers of Omar Abdel Rahman

September 13, 2004 -- A blind terrorist sheik was able to issue an order to his militant Islamic followers from prison — calling for the "killing of Jews" everywhere just a year before the Sept. 11 attacks — thanks to help from a Staten Island postal worker, Manhattan jurors were told.

Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman is serving a life sentence for conspiring to blow up city landmarks. He's barred from contacting anyone except his wife and legal team.

But Ahmed Abdel Sattar, the postal worker who also serves as Abdel-Rahman's paralegal, delivered the sheik's chilling fatwa, or edict, to terrorists over the phone and via e-mail, according to calls intercepted by federal authorities. The phone calls were transcribed and viewed by jurors.

Sattar is on trial in Manhattan federal court for participating in terrorist activity. Two other defendants, Abdel-Rahman's radical lawyer, Lynne Stewart, and his interpreter, Mohammed Yousry, are also charged with aiding and abetting terrorist activity by helping smuggle the sheik's messages out of prison. Federal prosecutors said Sattar delivered the sheik's messages directly to terror supporters in Afghanistan and London, and through Arabic and Mideast Web sites, according to the wiretaps.

Sattar, with a copy of the sheik's fatwa in his hand, excitedly tells Yassir Al-Sirri based in London during an Oct. 4, 2000, phone call, "Do you want to listen to it?" Al-Sirri answers yes.

Sattar reads the fatwa: "A statement to the nation, the old and the young . . . calling on the Islamic nation to mandate the killing of Jews wherever they are." The sheik's edict said it is the "duty of every capable Muslim to wage the jihad against them . . . until the Jews are driven to their graves . . . either killing them as individuals or by targeting their interests and their advocates, as much as they can, adding, "assassinate them."


MIM: Indictment



- v. -

a/k/a "Abu Omar,"
a/k/a "Dr. Ahmed,"


Terror-Related Case

Superseding Indictment

SI 02 Cr. 395 (JGK)


The Grand Jury charges:

1. From at least the early 1990's until in or about April 2002, Omar Ahmad Ali Abdel Rahman, a/k/a "the Sheikh," a/k/a "Sheikh Omar" (hereinafter, "Abdel Rahman"), who is a co-conspirator not named as a defendant herein, was an influential and high-ranking member of terrorist organizations based in Egypt and elsewhere. Abdel Rahman considered nations, governments, institutions, and individuals that did not share his radical interpretation of Islamic law to be "infidels" and interpreted the concept of "jihad" ("struggle") to compel the waging of opposition against such infidels by whatever means necessary, including force and violence.

The Federal Prosecutors

  • The U.S. Attorney's Office
  • Robin Baker
  • Joseph F. Bianco
  • Christopher Jude Morvillo
  • 2. According to Abdel Rahman's public remarks in 1990, "Jihad … there is no such thing as commerce, industry and science in jihad. This is calling things … other than by its own names. If God …says do jihad, it means do ‘jihad with the sword, with the cannon, with the grenades and with the missile' this is jihad. Jihad against God's enemies for God's cause and His word."

    3. Abdel Rahman supported and advocated jihad to, among other things: (1) overthrow the Egyptian government and replace it with an Islamic state; (2) destroy the nation of Israel and give the land to the Palestinians; and (3) oppose those governments, nations, institutions, and individuals, including the United States and its citizens, whom he perceived as enemies of Islam and supporters of Egypt and Israel.

    4. Abdel Rahman endorsed terrorism to accomplish his goals. In a speech he gave prior to May 2, 1994, Abdel Rahman said: "Why do we fear the word ‘terrorist?' If the terrorist is the person who defends his right; so we are terrorists. And if the terrorist is the one who struggles for the sake of God, [then] we are terrorists. We … have been ordered with terrorism because we must prepare what power we can to terrorize the enemy of God and yours. The Quran [the Islamic holy book] mentioned the word ‘to strike terror,' therefore we don't fear to be described with ‘terrorism'… They may say ‘he is a terrorist, he uses violence, he uses force.' Let them say that.

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    We are ordered to "prepare whatever we can of power to terrorize the enemies of Islam.'"

    Defense Lawyers for Stewart

  • Lynne Stewart
  • Michael Tigar
  • Daniel Habib
  • Jill Shellow-Levine
  • Stephen Somerstein
  • Steven P. Ragland
  • Susan P. Tipograph
  • Gerald Niewoehner
  • 5. Abdel Rahman exercised leadership while subordinates carried out the details of specific terrorist operations. Abde1 Rahman, who was viewed by his followers and associates as a religious scholar, provided necessary guidance regarding whether particular terrorist activities were permissible or forbidden under his extremist interpretation of Islamic law, and at times provided strategic advice concerning whether such activities would be an effective means of achieving their goals. Abdel Rahman also solicited persons to commit violent terrorist actions. Additionally, Abdel Rahman served as a mediator of disputes among his followers and associates.

    6. On or about July 2, 1993, Abdel Rahman was arrested in the United States. In October 1995, a jury sitting in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York convicted Abdel Rahman of engaging in a seditious conspiracy to wage a war of urban terrorism against the United States, which included the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center and a plot to bomb New York City landmarks, including the United Nations, the FBI building in New York, and the Lincoln and Holland tunnels. The jury also found Abdel Rahman guilty of soliciting crimes of violence against the United States military and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. In January 1996, Abdel

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    Rahman was sentenced to life imprisonment. On August 16, 1999, Abdel Rahman's conviction was upheld by the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and; on January 10, 2000, the United States Supreme Court refused to hear his case and his conviction thus became final. Since on or about 1997, Abdel Rahman has been incarcerated in various facilities operated by the United States Bureau of Prisons, including the Federal Medical Center in Rochester, Minnesota.

    Lawyers for Abdel Sattar

  • Barry M. Fallick
  • Kenneth Paul
  • Steven P. Ragland
  • 7. Following his arrest, Abdel Rahman urged his followers to wage jihad to obtain his release from custody. For instance, in a message to his followers recorded while he was in prison, Abdel Rahman stated that it was the duty of all Muslims to set free any imprisoned fellow Muslims, and that "[t]he Sheikh is calling on you, morning and evening. Oh Muslims! Oh Muslims! And he finds no respondents. It is a duty upon all the Muslims around the world to come to free the Sheikh, and to rescue him from his jail." Referring to the United States, Abdel Rahman implored, "Muslims everywhere, dismember their nation, tear them apart, ruin their economy, provoke their corporations, destroy their embassies, attack their interests, sink their ships, and shoot down their planes, kill them on land, at sea, and in the air. Kill them wherever you find them."

    8. Both prior to and after his arrest and imprisonment, Abdel Rahman was a spiritual leader of an

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    international terrorist group based in Egypt and known as the Islamic Group, a/k/a "Gama'a al-Islamiyya," a/k/a "IG," a/k/a "al-Gama'at," a/k/a "Islamic Gama'at," a/k/a "Egyptian al-Gama'at al-Islamiyya" (hereinafter, the "Islamic Group"). Abdel Rahman played a key role in defining and articulating the goals, policies, and tactics of the Islamic Group.

    Yousry's Defense Lawyer

  • David Stern
  • 9. According to Abdel Rahman's public remarks in 1990, Egyptian youths in the 1970's "established what is called Al Gama'a al-Islamiyya…, reviving [it] for the sake of Allah . . . . The Islamic group . . . started simple, few, little, then it spread and now has mosques and has presence in the governorates of Egypt … [M]any of them were killed for the cause of God as they had sacrificed their own souls; they carried out many jihad operations against those tyrants. The most famous and the most successful operation was fighting the atheist,. the oppressor and the profligate by killing him, Anwar Al-Sadat [the Egyptian president who was assassinated in 1981]… and now, it is hoping for another operation, God willing."

    10. Abdel Rahman's followers, including those associated with the Islamic Group, shared his views about the reasons for jihad, including the goal of obtaining Abdel Rahman's release from United States custody.

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    Efforts to Secure Abdel Rahman's Release

    11. After Abdel Rahman's arrest, a coalition of terrorists, supporters, and followers, including leaders and as.sociates of the Islamic Group, al Qaeda, the Egyptian Islamic Jim [sic], and the Abu Sayyaf terrorist group in the Philippines threatened and committed acts of terrorism directed at obtaining the release of Abdel Rahman from prison.

    Related Links

  • War On Terrorism
  • Criminal Law Center
  • Stages of a Criminal Case
  • 12. On or about July 4, 1993, the defendant, AHMED AHDEL SATTAR, a/k/a "Abu Omar," a/k/a "Dr. Ahmed," spoke to the media regarding Abdel Rahman's arrest and stated that "we haven't decided the time or place, but our Muslim community will definitely demonstrate its outrage at the arrest of the Sheikh," and that, "if anything happens to the Sheikh, we will hold the American administration responsible … Something very bad could happen."

    13. On or about January 21, 1996, a statement, issued in the name of the Islamic Group, responded to the sentence of life imprisonment imposed on Abdel Rahman by threatening, "All American interests will be legitimate targets for our struggle until the release of Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman and his brothers. As the American Government has opted for open confrontation with the Islamic movement and the Islamic symbols of struggle, al-Gama'a al-Islamiyya swears by God to its irreversible vow to take an eye for an eye."

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    14. On or about April 21, 1996, an Islamic Group leader, who is a co-conspirator not named as a defendant herein ("CC-1"), stated during an interview that "the question of kidnapping Americans as a ransom for [Abdel Rahman] is in the cards, not ruled out, and under consideration."

    15. On or about February 12, 1997, a statement issued in the name of the Islamic Group threatened, "The Islamic Group declares all American interests legitimate targets to its legitimate jihad until the release of all prisoners, on top of whom" is Abdel Rahman.

    16. On or about May 5, 1997, a statement issued in the name of the Islamic Group threatened, "If any harm comes to the [S]heikh … al-Gama al-IsIalamiy[y]a will target … all of those Americans who participated in subjecting his life to danger." The statement also said that "A1-Gamaa al-Islamiyya considers every American official, starting with the American president to the despicable jailer … partners endangering the Sheikh's life," and that the Islamic Group would do "everything in its power" to free Abdel Rahman. This statement by the Islamic Group followed a statement released to the media on May 2, 1997, by one of Abdel Rahman's attorneys that "[i]t sounds like the Sheikh's condition is deteriorating and obviously could be life-threatening."

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    17. On or about November 17, 1997, six assassins shot and stabbed a group of tourists visiting an archeological site in Luxor,. Egypt. Fifty-eight foreign tourists were killed along with four Egyptians, some of whom were police officers. Before making their exit, the terrorists scattered leaflets espousing their support for the Islamic Group and calling for the release of Abdel Rahman. Also, the torso of one victim was slit by the terrorists and a leaflet calling for Abdel Rahman's release was inserted.

    18. On or about November 18, 1997, a statement issued in the name of the Islamic Group said, "A Gama'a unit tried to take prisoner the largest number of foreign tourists possible … with the aim of securing the release of the general emir. (commander) of the Gama'a al-Islamiyya, Dr. Abdel-Rahman." The statement continued, "But the rash behavior and irresponsibility of government security forces with regard to tourist and civilian lives led to the high number of fatalities." The statement aIso warned that the Islamic Group "will continue its military operations as long as the regime does not respond to our demands." The statement listed the most important demands as "the establishment of God's law, cutting relations with the Zionist entity (Israel) … and the return of our sheik[h] and emir to his land."

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    19. On or about October 13, 1999, a statement in the name of Islamic Group leader Rifa'i Ahmad Taha Musa, a/k/a "Abu Yasir" (hereinafter, "Taha"), who is a co-conspirator not named. as a defendant herein, vowed to rescue Abdel Rahman and said that the United States' "hostile strategy to the Islamic movemehtn would drive it to "unify its efforts to confront America's piracy."

    20. In or about March 2000, individuals claiming association with the Abu Sayyaf terrorist group kidnapped approximately 29 hostages in the Philippines, demanded the release from prison of Abdel Rahman and two other convicted terrorists in exchange for the release of those hostages, and threatened to behead hostages if their demands were not met. Philippine authorities later found two decomposed, beheaded bodies in an area where the hostages had been held, and four hostages were ‘unaccounted for.'

    21. On or about September 21, 2000, an Arabic television station, Al Jazeera, televised a meeting of Usama Bin Laden (leader of the al Qaeda terrorist organization), Ayman al Zawahiri (former leader of the Egyptian Islamic Jiha organization and one of Bin Laden's top lieutenants), and Taha. Sitting under a banner which read, "Convention to Support Honorable Omar Abdel Rahman," the three terrorist leaders pledged "mad to free Abdel Rahman from incarceration in the United

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    States. During the meeting, Mohammed Abdel Rahman, a/k/a "Asadallah," who is a son of Abdel Rahman, was heard encouraging others to "avenge your Sheikh" and "go to the spilling of blood."

    Other Relevant Events

    22. At various times starting in or about July 1997, certain Islamic Group leaders and factions called for an "initiative" (or cease-fire,) in which the Islamic Group would suspend terrorist operations in Egypt in a tactical effort to persuade the Egyptian government to release Islamic Group leaders, members, and associates who were in prison in Egypt.

    23. In or about February 1998, Usama Bin Laden and Taha, among others, issued a fatw (a legal ruling issued by an Islamic scholar) that stated, among other things, "We, in the name of God, call on every Muslim who believes in God and desires to be rewarded, to follow God's order to kill Americans and plunder their wealth wherever and whenever they find it."

    24. On or about October 12, 2000, in Aden Harbor, Yemen, two terrorists piloted a bomb-laden boat alongside the United States Navy vessel the U.S.S. Cole and detonated a bomb that ripped a hole in the side of the U.S.S. Cole approximately 40 feet in diameter, murdering seventeen crew members, and wounding at least forty other crew members.

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    The Special Administrative Measures zmnosed on Abdel Rahman

    25. Beginning in or about April 1997, United States authorities, in order to protect the national security, limited certain of Ab.del Rahman's privileges in prison, including his access to the mail, the media, the telephone, and visitors. At that time, the Bureau of Prisons (at the direction of the Attorney General) imposed Special Administrative Measures ("SAMs") upon Abdel Rahman, pursuant to a federal_regulation (28 C.F.R. § 501.3). The stated purpose of the SAMs was to protect "persons against the risk of death or serious bodily injury" that could result if Abdel Rahman were free "to communicate (send or receive) terrorist information." Under the SAMs, Abdel Rahman could only call his wife or his attorneys and their translator, could only be visited by his immediate family members or his attorneys and their translator, and could only receive mail after it was screened by federal authorities. In addition, the SAMs prohibited communication with any member or representative news media. More specifically, as of April 7, 1999, the SAMs provided that "[t]he inmate will not be permitted to talk with, meet with, correspond with, or otherwise communicate with any member, or representative, of the news media, in person, by telephone, by furnishing a recorded message, through the mails, through his attorney(s), or otherwise."

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    26. The SAMS specifically provided that attorneys for Abdel Rahman were obliged to sign an affirmation, acknowledging that they and their staff would abide fully by the SAMs, before being allowed access to Abdel Rahman. The attorneys agreed in these affirmations, among other things, to "only be accompanied by translators for the purpose of communicating with inmate Abdel Rahman concerning legal matters." Moreover, since at least in or about May 1998, the attorneys also agreed not to "use [their] meetings, correspondence, or phone calls with Abdel Rahman to pass messages between third parties (including, but not limited to, the media) and Abdel Rahman."

    The Defendants

    27. Defendant AHMED ABDEL SATTAR, a/k/a "Abu Omar," a/k/a "Dr. Ahmed," is a longtime associate of and surrogate for Abdel Rahman. SATTAR negotiated Abdel Rahman's surrender and was present at Abdel Rahman's arrest on July 2, 1993. Upon Abdel Rahman's arrest, and continuing through his conviction, sentencing, and the imposition of the SAMS, SATTAR coordinated efforts to keep Abdel Rahman in contact with his co-conspirators' and followers. Defendant LYNNE STEWART was one of Abdel Rahman's attorneys during his 1995 criminal trial in New York and, following his conviction, continued to act as one of his attorneys. Notwithstanding the SAMS and her agreement to abide by their provisions, STEWART, through her continued access to

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    Abdel Rahman, enabled him to remain in contact with his co conspirators and followers. Defendant MOHAMMED YOUSRY testified as a defense witness at Abdel Rahman's 1995 criminal trial and, starting in or about 1997, acted as an Arabic interpreter for communications between Abdel Rahman and his attorneys. Notwithstanding the SAMs and YOUSRY's knowledge of their provisions, YOUSRY, through his continued access to Abdel Rahlnan and facilitated by STEWART, enabled Abdel remain in contact with his co-conspirators and followers.


    The Grand Jury further charges:

    28. The allegations in Paragraphs 1 through 27 of this indictment are realleged and incorporated by,reference as though fully set forth herein.

    29. From in or about June 1997 through in or about April 2002, in the Southern District of New York and elsewhere, AHMED ASDEL SATTAR, a/k/a "Abu Omar," a/k/a "Dr. Ahmed," LYNNE STEWART, and MOHAMMED YOUSRY, the defendants, Abdel Rahman, and Taha, together with others known and unknown, unlawfully, willfully, and knowingly combined, conspired, confederated, arid agreed together and with each other to defraud the United States and an agency thereof, to wit, to hamper, hinder, impede, and obstruct by trickery, deceit, and dishonest means, the lawful and

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    legitimate functions of the United States Department of Justice and its agency, the Bureau of Prisons, in the administration and enforcement of the Special Administrative Measures for inmate Abdel Rahman.

    Overt Acts

    30. In furtherance of the conspiracy, and to effect the illegal object thereof, the following overt acts,. among others, were committed in the Southern District of New York and elsewhere:

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