A US rights lawyer convicted of conspiring with terrorists by acting as a go-between for a jailed Egyptian cleric and his militant followers was sentenced to 28 months in jail Monday. Lynne Stewart, 67, was convicted in February 2005 of lying to the government and conspiring with her client, Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman, to convey messages to his militant disciples in Egypt and inciting them to violence. Her sentencing had been delayed while the veteran defense attorney and grandmother underwent treatment for breast cancer. A jubilant Stewart appeared before crowds of supporters outside the court to thank the judge for doing the fair and right thing.
Abdel Rahman was jailed for life after being convicted in 1995 of conspiring to blow up New York landmarks and assassinate President Hosni Mubarak. Stewart s co-defendant, US postal worker Ahmed Sattar was sentenced to 24 years in jail for conspiracy to murder, while Arabic translator Mohammed Yousry received a 20 month term for supporting that conspiracy. Giving testimony during the trial, Stewart had insisted that she neither abetted nor endorsed the concept of Islamic holy war held by Abdel Rahman. Prosecutors held that between 1997 and 2002, Stewart and her co-defendants helped Abdel Rahman pass messages to his followers in violation of government restrictions on his right to communicate with the outside world. In particular, the prosecutors said, Abdel Rahman used the three defendants to exhort his militant Islamic group to break a ceasefire with the Egyptian government.