Egypt did not contact US over release of ‘Blind Sheikh,’ says official

President Mohamed Morsy has not made communicated with Washington over the release Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman, US State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland* said.

Abdel Rahman, often known as the “Blind Sheikh,” was convicted in 1995 of charges related to terrorism conspiracy and plotting to overthrow the US government.**

In a press briefing, Nuland said that Morsy has just assumed his new post and that neither him nor any representative for him had contacted Washington in this concern.

“To my knowledge, neither he nor his people have contacted us on this case, but I think the secretary was extremely clear in her interviews over the weekend about where we stand on it,” Nuland said.

Last week, Morsy took an informal oath of office before tens of thousands of supporters in Cairo's Tahrir Square in which he paid homage to the militant cleric jailed in the United States.

"I see the family of Omar Abdel Rahman (in Tahrir)," he said. "And I see the banners of the families of those who have been jailed by the (Egyptian) military." He pledged to work for the release of the prisoners, including Abdel Rahman.

On Sunday, Morsy spokesperson Yasser Ali said that the president’s statements on releasing Abdel Rahman were based on sympathy for his family, from a humanitarian perspective and not a legal one.

Ali added that Egypt respects laws and criminal rulings issued in other countries with stable judicial systems, and that legal options exist for dealing with humanitarian issues.

This week, The US secretary of state responded by saying that the legal procedures of Abdel Rahman’s trial were correct.

*Correction: This article originally misspelled Nuland's name,

**Correction: This article initially said Abdel Rahman was convicted of taking part in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. He was implicated in planning the bombing and convicted of seditious conspiracy for inciting and planning violent attacks.

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