No release for 'Blind Sheik'

Sept. 20, 2012 at 1:11 PM
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WASHINGTON, Sept. 20 (UPI) -- Reports the Obama administration is considering the release from prison of "Blind Sheik" Omar Abdel-Rahman are wrong, officials said.

Abdel-Rahman, 74, whom the New York Post Thursday called "the spiritual adviser" to the 1993 World Trade Center bombers, was convicted in 1995 of terrorist attacks in New York and is incarcerated in a federal prison in North Carolina.

The newly installed government of Egypt, where Abdel-Rahman's fervent followers regularly demonstrate for his freedom, "asked for his release," an administration source told the newspaper, and Rep. Peter King, R-NY, confirmed the request is being considered.

The sightless Abdel-Rahman was a topic of conversation on Arabic-language message boards two days before protesters attacked the U.S. Embassy in Cairo and later killed the U.S. ambassador to Libya, a Department of Homeland Security report said.

The proposed release, a goodwill gesture toward Egypt's new government, brought criticism from Rep. King, who wrote in letters to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton he regarded it, "A sign of weakness and a lack of resolve by the United States and its president."

National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor said, "The blind sheik is going to serve out his sentence. There are no discussions about transferring him."

Dean Boyd, U.S. Department of Justice spokesman, said transfer plans are "totally false and absolutely baseless."

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