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Britain Begins Extradition Hearing for Egyptian Terrorist


A British court has started an extradition hearing for an Egyptian man wanted by the United States on terrorism-related charges.

The case involves a 39-year-old Egyptian named Yasser al-Siri. He was indicted last month in New York on charges of helping jailed Muslim cleric Omar Abdel-Rahman to foment terrorism.

U.S. authorities have said Abdel-Rahman leads an organization with ties to the al-Qaida terrorist network of Osama bin Laden.

A court in London heard testimony Friday from British police that al-Siri arranged for money to be sent to Abdel-Rahman's son in Afghanistan.

A London policeman Sergeant Gary Flood testified that al-Siri either knew or should have suspected that the money could be used for terrorist activities.

Al-Siri's lawyer Ben Emmerson said the money was sent as part of his client's efforts to support the families of Muslim prisoners around the world.

The judge set bail at $22,000 and ordered al-Siri to return to court on May 31.

In separate court action earlier this week, a judge threw out a terrorism charge against al-Siri. He had been accused of getting false journalistic credentials for two men who killed Afghan Northern Alliance leader Ahmed Shah Massood in September.

Al-Siri has denied any links to terrorism, and he said his London-based Islamic Observation Center is a news and information source.

Al-Siri was sentenced to death in Egypt for the 1993 assassination attempt against former Prime Minister Atef Sedki. A 12-year-old girl was killed in the attack.

In a separate Egyptian trial in 1999, al-Siri was sentenced in absentia to life imprisonment for plotting attacks against officials and police.

He also has reported links to Islamic militants who claimed responsibility for a 1997 attack in Luxor, Egypt that killed 58 foreign tourists and four Egyptians.

Al-Siri has lived in Britain since 1994.

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