Egypt’s President-elect Mohammed Morsi pledges to work to spring terror leader Omar Abdel-Rahman from a U.S. prison
The ‘Blind Sheik’ is imprisoned for plotting to blow up five New York landmarks in a series of follow-up attacks to the 1993 World Trade Center bombin
WASHINGTON — Egypt’s incoming president made an outlandish but troubling pledge Friday to push for the release of a blind sheik imprisoned in the U.S. for a plot to blow up five New York landmarks.
Omar Abdel-Rahman, spiritual leader to the men convicted in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, is rotting in a North Carolina federal prison hospital for the scheme of simultaneous follow-up bombings that could have killed thousands.
Mohammed Morsi, an Islamist politician whose election was made official Sunday, issued the promise while speaking in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, before a crowd composed mainly of fellow Islamists.
“I will do my best to free all detainees, including Dr. Omar Abdel-Rahman,” he said, pointing to people in the crowd who held up a poster of the convicted plotter.
Abdel-Rahman’s backers argue he should be repatriated to Egypt on humanitarian grounds — but U.S. elected officials said Morsi won’t succeed in such a quest.
Rep. Pete King (R-L.I.), chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, said Abdel-Rahman isn’t going anywhere.
King voiced concern over what Morsi’s remarks say about his ideology and judgment — and about the new regime in Cairo.
“Beginning his presidency by saying that he’s going to free the Blind Sheikh is despicable,” King said.
“The U.S. has to face up to the reality that he can’t be trusted,” King added. “He’s an Islamist; he’s a radical.” Read more