Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman, a blind Egyptian cleric who died in prison Saturday, was convicted in 1995 along with nine followers of a conspiracy to blow up the United Nations, FBI offices, highway tunnels and other New York-area landmarks in a single day of terror.
He also was convicted at the same trial of plotting to kill former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. He defiantly professed his innocence in the plot, declaring: “This case is nothing but an extension of the American war against Islam.”
Some of those involved in that trial had their own notoriety:
Stewart, the defence attorney who argued that Abdel-Rahman was a spiritual leader prosecuted for his speech, was later convicted of helping the sheik communicate with his followers. Sentenced to a decade in prison, she was freed on New Year’s Eve in 2013, after doctors concluded she had less than 18 months to live.
As of September 2016, the great-grandmother was still alive and was interviewed by The Associated Press.
Phone messages left for her on Saturday were not returned.
EL SAYYID NOSAIR
One of Abdel-Rahman’s co-conspirators, Nosair was not only sentenced for his role in the bomb plot but for assassinating militant Rabbi Meir Kahane in a New York hotel in 1990. Nosair’s cousin, Ibrahim A. El-Gabrowny, 45, received 57 years for the conspiracy and other charges, including possession of bogus passports and visas intended to get Nosair out of the country following a jailbreak.
Seven other defendants received prison terms of 25 to 35 years for planning what prosecutors called a “war of urban terrorism” aimed at altering U.S. policy in the Middle East.
Mukasey was the Manhattan federal court judge who presided over the terror trial and who later served as President George W. Bush’s attorney general from 2007 to 2009. He is currently an attorney with a New York City law firm.
Another former attorney general, Clark represented Abdel-Rahman after the sheik went to prison.
In 1999, Clark alleged that his client had been attacked by a prison officer at a facility in Minnesota. “He said, ‘I don’t complain.’ Still, it’s pretty awful,” Clark said.
The FBI later said it was investigating the claim but it was not immediately clear whatever came of the allegation.
Moussaoui, the only person convicted in the United States in connection with the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, testified at his trial that he was in training to hijack a 747 jet and fly it into the White House if the U.S. government refused to release Abdel-Rahman. Moussaoui was in custody on immigration violations in Minnesota at the time of the Sept. 11 attacks. He is serving a life prison sentence after pleading guilty in 2005 to conspiring with the 19 hijackers.
The Associated Press