In his first interview since he was convicted of waging a holy war against the United States, Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman said Monday that the government was trying "to break my spirit" by moving him from New York.
The sheik was moved at 5:30 a.m. from the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan to the U.S. Medical Center for Federal Prisoners in Springfield, Mo.
In a telephone interview from the medical center, the 57-year-old Egyptian cleric said he was denied a fair trial and now the government was trying to separate him from his lawyers, purportedly because of his health.
"Well, they make me sicker. They make me sicker," Abdel Rahman said as he sat Monday night in a cell isolated from other inmates. Coughing occasionally, he spoke to the Associated Press in a three-way call with a translator.
He complained that he was strip-searched when he arrived and was not given any better medical care than before.
"They show your private parts to everyone. I told them, 'No, I can't do that.' They said, 'This is the law, you have to do it.' I said, 'Well, this is the American law that humiliates a human being,' " Abdel Rahman said.
The sheik and nine others were convicted Sunday of plotting killings, kidnapings and bombings to force the United States to change its Middle East policies.