Several indicted for alleged `support of terrorism'; New York lawyer arrested by FBI

Tuesday, April 9th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

NEW YORK (AP) _ A lawyer who represented Muslim militant Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman was arrested Tuesday, and her lawyer said she was apparently accused of harboring terrorists.

At the same time, the U.S. attorney's office announced several people were indicted on accusations of ``material support of a terrorism organization.''

A law enforcement source, speaking to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity, said Stewart was among those named in the indictment.

Messages left with the U.S. attorney's office seeking confirmation were not immediately returned. Attorney General John Ashcroft and other officials were expected to discuss the case at an afternoon news conference.

The source said associates of convicted terrorist Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman were indicted for assisting him in communicating with the outside world, contrary to the terms of his confinement.

``She has been arrested and apparently is at FBI headquarters right now,'' said Tipograph, reached by telephone. A woman answering the phone in Stewart's office said FBI agents arrived at about 11:30 a.m. and were executing a search warrant.

Stewart has represented Abdel-Rahman, a Muslim cleric now serving a life sentence in the United States for conspiring to assassinate Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and blow up five New York City landmarks in the 1990s.

The four-story building that houses Stewart's offices in lower Manhattan was locked and a New York City police officer stood guard outside.

A statement from the U.S. attorney's office in Manhattan said several people were indicted ``for their material support of a terrorism organization.''

Abdel-Rahman, 63, was among 10 defendants convicted by a Manhattan jury in 1995 of seditious conspiracy in a plot to bomb the United Nations, FBI headquarters in Manhattan, two tunnels and a bridge connecting New Jersey and New York.

Prosecutors said the defendants wanted to use urban terrorism to pressure the United States into curbing support for Middle East nations that opposed the sheik's extremist brand of Islam.

Stewart argued during the trial that the blind sheik was being prosecuted for his speech.

U.S. Attorney James B. Comey, Assistant FBI Director Kevin P. Donovan and New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly also were scheduled to appear at the news conference.

Ashcroft was also scheduled to view the World Trade Center site later Tuesday.