A former Osama bin Laden henchman convicted in two deadly 1998 bombings is free and living in the U.K. this week after being released early — thanks to a Manhattan federal judge who agreed the terrorist was way too obese to survive the coronavirus behind bars.
Adel Abdel Bary, 60, had spent 21 years in a New Jersey prison for his role in the 1998 al Qaeda bombings of two U.S. embassies in Africa that killed 224 people, including 12 Americans.
“Defendant’s obesity and somewhat advanced age make COVID-19 significantly more risky to him than to the average person,” U.S. District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan wrote in granting the release, New York Post reported.
Bary had been set to be freed on Oct. 28, but his attorneys asked that he be let out sooner, citing their client’s age, girth and asthma.
“Mr. Bary’s continued incarceration now significantly increases his risk of infection, which could wreak disastrous health outcomes,” his lawyer wrote in court documents.
While prosecutors didn’t agree that Bary’s age made him more at risk to catch COVID-19, they did concede his body mass index of 36 did.
— New York Post (@nypost) December 11, 2020
“The defendant’s obesity is an extraordinary and compelling reason that could justify a reduction of his sentence in light of the current pandemic,” they wrote.
The 230-pound terrorist was freed from prison Oct. 9 and from an Immigration and Customs Enforcement facility on Wednesday, when he was handed over to U.K. officials, Fox News reported.
Bary — whose son, British rapper Abdel-Majed Abdel Bary, is an Islamist militant — was reunited with his wife, Ragaa, who lives in a $1 million-plus apartment in London, Britain’s Sun newspaper reported.
His return to the U.K. couldn’t be blocked because he was granted asylum there in 1997 — before being arrested in 1999 and extradited to the U.S. to stand trial in 2012.
He had been sentenced to 25 years in prison in 2015 but received credit for the years he spent behind bars in Britain while fighting extradition.
Officials couldn’t send him back to his native Egypt after his release because he could be at risk of death or torture, the Sun reported.
“His return remains a huge headache for the [U.K.] home secretary” — equivalent to the U.S. secretary of state. “She is intent on ridding the country of threats, but here’s a notorious terrorist dumped right on her doorstep,” a source told the Sun.
Edith Bartley, whose younger brother was among the victims, ripped the release.
“Just serving a sentence doesn’t mean that a person has been rehabilitated, doesn’t mean that their core thinking has changed,” she told the New York Times. “This is a person who can still do harm in the world.”