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Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman Trial: 1995-96

Defense Claims Religious Persecution

Throughout the trial, the defense argued that Abdel Rahman was a spiritual leader being prosecuted for his speech. The prosecution contended that the sheik had instead acted more like an organized crime boss, approving violent acts against his enemies and trying to ferret out informers from his organization. The trial slowed to a crawl as investigators offered scores of exhibits whose details allegedly proved conspiratorial relationships between the accused.

Defendant Rodney Hampton-El testified that he was lying when he had boasted of being able to obtain bomb detonators for Salem and Siddig Ali. In any case, Hampton-El claimed, he was under the impression that the bomb under discussion was being made to attack a New York warehouse full of weapons being stockpiled illegally for use against Bosnian Muslims, not against domestic U.S. sites named in the indictment against him. Victor Alvarez's attorney defended his client by characterizing him as a mentally handicapped cocaine addict, unable to grasp the full implications of helping fellow Muslims he was trying to impress.

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Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1995 to PresentSheik Omar Abdel Rahman Trial: 1995-96 - Sheik Arrested In Terrorist Plot, Bomb Factory Described In Testimony, Defense Claims Religious Persecution, Jury Convicts On 48 Charges