224 people were killed in the attacks. via Egyptian Gets 25-Year Term in 1998 Embassy Bombings; Judge Calls Plea Deal Generous – NYTimes.com.
An Egyptian man who admitted to helping Osama bin Laden issue threats and make claims of responsibility for terrorist bombings was sentenced to 25 years in prison on Friday, a result of a deal that the judge said was generous.
“You are the beneficiary of what in my mind is an enormously generous plea bargain made by the United States attorney’s office,” the judge, Lewis A. Kaplan, told the defendant, Adel Abdul Bary, in Federal District Court in Manhattan.
Mr. Bary, 54, was arrested in Britain in 1999 and extradited to the United States in 2012. The judge said Mr. Bary would most likely receive credit for the time he had served and could be eligible for release in just over eight years.
The plea agreement also states that if Mr. Bary applied to serve his sentence in Britain, the United States attorney’s office would not take any position on the matter, and such a decision would ultimately be up to the Justice Department. But the judge made it clear he did not believe that Mr. Bary should be allowed to serve his sentence outside this country.
“This was as serious a crime against American citizens as I can imagine,” Judge Kaplan said, “and the punishment, in my view, ought to be served in the United States, and more particularly under the control of the United States.”
Mr. Bary pleaded guilty to conspiring to kill Americans and two other counts related to making threats.
He once led the London cell of Egyptian Islamic Jihad, a terrorist organization that was headed by Ayman al-Zawahri, now the leader of Al Qaeda, prosecutors have said.
Mr. Bary had been charged with more than 280 counts, including murder, stemming from the nearly simultaneous attacks on Aug. 7, 1998, on the embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, which killed 224 people and wounded thousands.
Prosecutors allowed Mr. Bary to plead guilty to the lesser counts, saying in court papers that he had “limited” direct involvement in and foreknowledge of the bombings and that his primary role was that of a “communications facilitator.”
The judge had held up approval of the plea agreement, asking the prosecution and the defense to explain why the deal, which resulted in a maximum sentence of 25 years, was justified in a case that involved so many deaths.
On Friday, Mr. Bary’s lawyer, Andrew G. Patel, noted that his client had made public statements opposing violence, but a prosecutor, Sean S. Buckley, said such a portrayal was belied by the record.
In pleading guilty last September, Mr. Bary said he had knowingly agreed with Mr. Zawahri and others to “kill American citizens anywhere in the world, either civilian or military.”
Mr. Patel, in sentencing papers, also cited a period largely in the 1980s when his client was repeatedly imprisoned and tortured by the Egyptian government. If that happened, “it was horrific,” Judge Kaplan said, adding that “there is too much horror in this world” and people “doing unspeakable things” to people.
“We can’t as a human race seem to put it behind us,” the judge said.
Mr. Bary spoke briefly through an Arabic translator, apologizing to the victims.
A family member of two victims, Edith L. Bartley, addressed the court before the sentence was imposed. Ms. Bartley’s father, Julian L. Bartley Sr., the consul general in Nairobi, and her brother, Julian L. Bartley Jr., a student working as an intern at the Kenya embassy, died in the blast there.
Ms. Bartley, with her mother, Sue, watching from the spectator section, described how hard it still was for victims’ families almost 17 years later. Looking at Mr. Bary, she said, “We want to ensure he has to think about his responsibility for these murders for the rest of his life.”
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