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By Chris Abani

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Judge Says Doctor Can’t Treat Terrorists

Posted on Jan 30, 2007
Judge Preska

U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska

A judge has ruled that a Florida doctor can be prosecuted under federal law for vowing to treat members of al-Qaida. Dr. Rafiq Abdus Sabir argued unsuccessfully that the Constitution protects a doctor’s right to perform medical services.

AP via Houston Chronicle:

A doctor accused of pledging to treat al-Qaida members can be prosecuted because medical care counts as material support to terrorists under federal law, a judge said Tuesday.

Dr. Rafiq Abdus Sabir, an Ivy League-educated doctor, had argued it was unconstitutional to prosecute a doctor for providing medical services.

He was arrested in May 2005 at his home in Boca Raton, Fla., accused in a plot to assist terrorist organizations along with a New York jazz musician, a Brooklyn bookstore owner and a former Washington, D.C., cabdriver. Sabir has pleaded not guilty and remained jailed since his arrest.

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By online_doctor, January 5, 2012 at 12:11 am Link to this comment

I am appalled at such a decision by the court. I wonder if the Doctor were a white male born in america, would he have been treated differently. We are taught that medics that treat the injured regardless of where they are from, are worthy of praise. Why can’t this be applied to this doctor as well?

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By trantieungoc, January 31, 2007 at 8:40 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

She looks so attractive but her mouth is full of venom !

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By David Culver, January 31, 2007 at 3:31 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Well, there goes the Hippocratic Oath, along with Habeas Corpus, the Bill of Rights, and the rest of the Constitution. I’m not surprised the judge is from Florida. They’re as nutty there as Molly Ivins says they are in Texas, just not as funny.

I love the jesuitical sophistry of correspondent 127001 in Comment #50611. I remember a M*A*S*H episode in which Hawkeye treats an enemy soldier ahead of one from the US, based on the soldier’s medical condition, not who was killing for whom. Based on that I’d say this doctor was well within his rights.

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By Jon B, January 31, 2007 at 2:44 pm Link to this comment
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An eye for an eye and law work both ways. What if terrorists do the same to captured GIs? MDs are trained to cure people and save lives. Perhaps Judge Loretta force her ruling into med schools.

This is pathetic, the ruling that is.

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By Quy Tran, January 31, 2007 at 12:09 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Terrorists are also human beings. Just go ahead to treated them well as other patiens then prosecuted them later if they’re really terrorists.

If the judge said no for medical treatment so she will surely be compared equally to terrorists.

Only animal acts like that judge ! Sorry for her family and mostly for her children !

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By anonymous, January 31, 2007 at 8:06 am Link to this comment
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Time to arrest all the people working in our field hospitals in Iraq and Afghanistan.  They treat the “terrorists” every day.  It’s supposed to make us look like good guys.

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By 127001, January 30, 2007 at 8:11 pm Link to this comment
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Actually, the article reads:

“The judge said Sabir is not charged merely for being a doctor or for performing medical services.

“Here, Sabir is alleged essentially to have volunteered as a medic for the al-Qaida military, offering to make himself available specifically to attend to the wounds of injured fighters,” she said. “Much as a military force needs weapons, ammunition, trucks, food and shelter, it needs medical personnel to tend to its wounded.” “

The guy volunteered to the military first, and offered his skills as a part of joining.

The Truthdig report seems a bit misleading to me for not mentioning that.

This is a lot different than a doctor putting forth medical services without discriminating politics (or religion or any other qualifying criteria).

The story from the Chronicle reflects the guy had a different approach, essentially the medical services were a perk of his being a member.


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By Aaron, January 30, 2007 at 7:57 pm Link to this comment
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The wingnuts are correct - there has been an influx of activist judges.  It just so happens that they are mostly neo-cons.  In modern history, no president has been so unabashedly committed to stacking the court with extremely right-leaning judges as Bushie.  Even Reagan realized that a measure of moderation was needed.  As a young lawyer, I seeth to think of the decisions that will be handed down over the next 20 years from these activists with life-term appointments - and most Americans have no idea it’s coming.

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