'In his first public speech addressing tens of thousands of mostly Islamist supporters, Egypt's president-elect Mohammed Morsi has vowed to free the blind sheik jailed in the U.S. for a plot to blow up New York City landmarks.
Morsi, Egypt's first Islamist and civilian president-elect, promised Friday to work to free Omar Abdel-Rahman, the spiritual leader of men convicted in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.'
'After the first World Trade Center bombing in February 1993, the FBI began to investigate Rahman and his followers more closely. With the assistance of an Egyptian informant wearing a listening device, the FBI managed to record Rahman issuing a fatwa encouraging acts of violence against US civilian targets, particularly in the New York and New Jersey metropolitan area.[not in citation given] The most startling plan, the government charged, was to set off five bombs in 10 minutes, blowing up the United Nations, the Lincoln and Holland tunnels, the George Washington Bridge and a federal building housing the FBI.[not in citation given] Government prosecutors showed videotapes of defendants mixing bomb ingredients in a garage before their arrest in 1993.[not in citation given] Rahman was arrested on 24 June 1993, along with nine of his followers. On 1 October 1995, he was convicted of seditious conspiracy, and in 1996 was sentenced to life in prison.
Rahman is currently serving his life sentence at the Butner Federal Medical Center in North Carolina.
Abdel-Rahman's imprisonment has become a rallying point for Islamic militants around the world, including Al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden. In 1997, members of his group Al-Gama'a al-Islamiyya conducted two attacks against European visitors to Egypt, including the Luxor massacre. In addition to killing women and children, the attackers mutilated a number of bodies and distributed leaflets throughout the scene demanding Rahman's release.'