Muslim doctor "volunteered as a medic for the al-Qaida military"  

The Tampa Tribune 

A doctor accused of pledging to treat al-Qaida members can be prosecuted because medical care counts as material support to terrorists under federal law, a judge said Tuesday. 

Dr. Rafiq Abdus Sabir, an Ivy League-educated doctor, had argued it was unconstitutional to prosecute a doctor for providing medical services. He was arrested in May 2005 at his home in Boca Raton, Fla., accused in a plot to assist terrorist organizations along with a New York jazz musician, a Brooklyn bookstore owner and a former Washington, D.C., cabdriver.

Sabir has pleaded not guilty and remained jailed since his arrest. He was charged with conspiring to provide material support or resources to a terrorist organization from October 2003 through May 2005 by providing and trying to provide medical support to wounded terrorists, knowing that al-Qaida engages in terrorist activity. 

U.S. District Judge Loretta A. Preska ruled against Sabir's motions to dismiss the indictment at a pretrial hearing on Jan. 17, and explained herself in a written decision released Tuesday. 

She said "any reasonable doctor" would know from the plain language of federal law that pledging to provide medical support to al-Qaida would be a form of outlawed "expert advice or assistance." 

The judge said Sabir is not charged merely for being a doctor or for performing medical services. "Here, Sabir is alleged essentially to have volunteered as a medic for the al-Qaida military, offering to make himself available specifically to attend to the wounds of injured fighters," she said.

"Much as a military force needs weapons, ammunition, trucks, food and shelter, it needs medical personnel to tend to its wounded." 

Sabir's lawyer, Edward Wilford, did not immediately return a telephone message Tuesday.  

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