Now that Egypt’s Mohamed Morsi has settled the constitutional issues facing his country, he can turn his attention to the truly pressing problems of the Arab Spring state. Would that be religious tolerance, economic growth, and the pursuit of peace in the region? Er … not exactly.
In an exclusive interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer last night, Morsi urged Barack Obama to free Omar Abdel-Rahman, better known as the Blind Sheikh, currently serving a life sentence in a maximum-security federal prison in North Carolina for his involvement in the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center.
TRANSLATOR FOR EGYPTIAN PRESIDENT MORSI: I want him to be free, but I respect the law and the rule of law in Egypt and the United States. What I am talking about isn’t a violation. I don’t want a violation of the rule of law, but there are also many humane aspects. There can be things like visitation, assistance, his children, his family assisting him. He is an old sheikh and sick and blind. We need to respect that. Is there a chance for hi to be freed? I wish this, but considering my respect and appreciation for the American rule of law and the American government, our relationship, Egypt’s relationship with America deserves that these issues be reviewed, if that is okay according to the law. If it isn’t possible, and I hope that it is possible, if it wasn’t possible, than these humane aspects need to be taken into account; for him to be in a humane prison, to be able to have visitors, to be able to have company, to be able to visit with his sons and children, for his family to visit, for us to see him, for people to see him and know how he is doing. Because he is a man, an old man, and he deserves full care. I wish that there could be a big possibility for the American administration to look into this matter about this sheikh who is very old without there being — I don’t intend on violating the rule of law in any place and I don’t like anyone asking me to violate the rule of law in my own country, but the humane aspects at the very least need to be guaranteed.
* FBI informant: 'Blind sheikh' still dangerous -
As Morsi presses Obama to release Omar Abdel Rahman, who is serving life sentence for involvement in deadly 1993 WTC bombing, FBI informant says 'he will kill anyone who disputes what he says with a fatwa'.
As the US marks the 20th anniversary of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, in which six people were killed and more than 1,000 were injured, an FBI informant is urging the country to keep the ailing 74-year-old "blind sheikh" Omar Abdel Rahman behind bars.
Emad Salem came out of witness protection to tell NBC 4 New York that Rahman, who was convicted after the 1993 attack of plotting to bomb several New York City landmarks, "will kill Americans" if he is released.
"He will kill anyone who disputes what he says with a fatwa," the informant warned.
The informant spoke after Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi had repeatedly asked his American counterpart Barack Obama to transfer Rahman to an Egyptian prison due to his deteriorating health.
Morsi and other Mideast leaders will step up their pressure to get Rahman out of American custody during the Egyptian leader's scheduled visit to Washington next month. Salem, a former officer in the Egyptian army, warned that Rahman remains a significant threat to the US. The "blind sheikh" welcomed Morsi's election as president of Egypt, calling it a "victory for Islam." Rahman is serving a life sentence in a North Carolina prison.
Photos: Omar Abdel Rahman AKA The Blind Sheikh, Scene of 1993 World Trade Center attack
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