LONDON: Osama Bin Laden’s former spokesman is set to be returned to the UK from the US, having been granted political asylum as part of his extradition terms eight years ago.
Adel Abdel Bary, 60, originally from Egypt, was arrested by UK police in 1999 and extradited to the US in 2012 for his role in Al-Qaeda attacks on Washington’s embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, which killed 224 and wounded 5,000 in 1998.
He was only able to be sent to America after the UK government at the time agreed to accept him as a successful asylum seeker, fearing that refusing to do so, at a time when the US regularly placed international prisoners accused of terrorism in its notorious facility in Guantanamo Bay, would breach his human rights.
Abdel Bary agreed a plea bargain with US prosecutors in 2015 where he admitted to three charges, including conspiracy to murder US citizens abroad. He also admitted sending faxes claiming responsibility for the embassy bombings, as well as threatening further attacks, though he claimed to have never met Bin Laden. He also briefly acted as a lawyer for current Al-Qaeda leader, Ayman Al-Zawahiri.
He was sentenced to 25 years in prison, and has now been released having served 16 years in detention without charge. He had previously moved to the UK from Egypt in 1991, claiming political asylum, a status which was granted in 1993. He was later given indefinite leave to remain in the UK in 1997 with his wife and three children, and has since had three more children born in the UK. One of Abdel Bary’s sons, Abdel Majed Abdel, was arrested in Spain in April this year, having previously traveled to Syria to fight for the terrorist group Daesh.
Abdel Bary is set to return to Britain in the coming days, after being moved to a US immigration detention facility, and will be placed under surveillance by security services when he arrives in the UK, sources told the Telegraph.
“He would not have been extradited to the US in the absence of an undertaking that, as someone with acknowledged refugee status, Britain would be treated as his home country for that reason,” the source said. “Without that there could not have been extradition.”
Lord Carlile, a former independent reviewer of terrorism in the UK, criticized the government’s decision to allow Bary to return.
“It is a matter of real concern that somebody convicted of serious terrorism offenses is being returned to this country without demur, and I would be very interested to see what the home secretary and the attorney general will have to say about this,” he said.