Two Americans Charged With Aiding Al Qaeda

Two American Muslims have been charged with aiding al Qaeda terrorists.

Two Americans Charged With Aiding Al Qaeda (Fox)

Authorities said Sunday that Rafiq Abdus Sabir, 50, a Boca Raton physician, and Tarik Shah, 42, a self-described martial arts expert in New York, conspired to treat and train terrorists. Both are American citizens. Both men were scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday in federal court, Shah in New York and Sabir in Florida, according to a news release from U.S. Attorney David Kelley in Manhattan.

It was not immediately clear who would represent them in court. If convicted, each man faces a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

The one-count complaint claims the men allegedly took an oath pledging their allegiance to Al Qaeda. The government said the men engaged in multiple recorded conversations with a confidential source and an FBI agent posing as an Al Qaeda operative. During the conversations, Shah also described how he and Sabir in 1998 tried to get to training camps in Afghanistan and said they were a “package” deal, Kelley said in the release.

Link via an e-mailer who notes, “We used to execute traitors, now the max is 15 years. Meanwhile, almost everything else has been elevated to the possibility of felony status.” Indeed, it’s amazing that we routinely sentence people to life in prison under “three time loser” laws for committing crimes of far less consequence than this.

Update: LaShawn Barber agrees.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Jim Henley says:

    By all means let’s try them and throw away the key if they’re guilty. A lot of these terror indictments have kind of melted in the sun, though. I put very little stock in anything prosecutors say in an indictment announcement, whether terror-related or not – they’re the biggest glory hounds in the kennel. But if this one holds up, fifteen years is far too kind. 1998 I could just about let bygones be bygones. But if, post-9/11, guys are TRYING to hook up with an organization that they know perfectly well murdered 3,000 of their fellow citizens, life in prison is no less than they deserve. (I’m not a death penalty supporter.)

  2. carpeicthus says:

    Entirely seconded. Also, my opposition to the death penalty is weakest for soundly prosecuted terrorism cases. In addition to the criminal acts being generally horrible, it’s a crime against the state, which I see as a necessary (but not qute sufficient) condition of the state having a legitimate voice in whether they should live or die.

  3. wavemaker says:

    Okay then, let me be the first in the thread:

    Upon conviction, give em the needle — that’s a whole lot more “humane” than their conspirators in Tora Bora would be to one of ours.