Egyptian jailed in US over Africa embassy bombings

6th February 2015, Comments 0 comments

An Egyptian man was sentenced to 25 years in a US prison Friday for conspiring to kill Americans over the 1998 embassy bombings in Africa, which left 224 people dead.

Adel Abdel Bary, who was extradited to the United States from Britain in 2012, pleaded guilty last September on three counts of working for Al-Qaeda and Egyptian Islamic Jihad.

Federal judge Lewis Kaplan told Bary, 54, that the sentence would allow him to return to his family and live out the remainder of his life in freedom, a privilege not extended to his victims.

Bary has already spent 16 years in British and US custody.

In 1997 and 1998, he headed up the London cell of Egyptian Islamic Jihad -- then led by Ayman al-Zawahiri, who is now head of Al-Qaeda -- and the two groups essentially merged.

Bary passed to journalists Al-Qaeda's claim of responsibility for the bombings of the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, which left more than 5,000 others wounded.

He also passed on threats of future Al-Qaeda attacks from his base in London to media organizations in France, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates the day after the embassy bombings.

Edith Bartley, whose diplomat father and 20-year-old brother were killed in the bombing in Kenya, gave an emotional speech about her lost relatives and the pain of grief.

"We want to ensure he thinks about his responsibility for these murders for the rest of his life," she told the court.

"My father and brother were wonderful human beings. No family should have to go through our pain," she said.

A rotund man with salt-and-pepper beard and wavy hair, Bary expressed regret for his actions.

"I would like to say I feel sorry for all the victims," Bary told the judge, speaking through a translator.

"If I could just do something to bring the victims back, I would," he added.

Kaplan said he would not lessen the maximum sentence of 25 years despite the "horrific" torture the defendant suffered as a political opponent in Egypt, calling his plea bargain "enormously generous."

Bary will be eligible for release in just over eight years, Kaplan said. The terms of his extradition to the United States stipulated that he be deported back to Britain after serving his sentence.

Bary's son, former London rapper Abdel-Majed Abdel Bary, is understood to have joined extremists fighting against President Bashar al-Assad in Syria.

By pleading guilty, Bary avoided spending the rest of his life behind bars.

His alleged co-conspirator -- Saudi exile Khalid al-Fawwaz, the purported chief of the London Al-Qaeda cell -- is currently on trial in New York.

A third co-conspirator, Libyan defendant Abu Anas al-Libi, died in custody last month from natural causes.

The August 7, 1998 car bombing of the US embassy in Nairobi killed 213 people and wounded another 5,000.

A near simultaneous truck bomb outside the US mission in Tanzania killed 11 people and wounded 70 more.


© 2015 AFP

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