LONDON: A former spokesman for Al-Qaeda who worked closely with the group’s late leader Osama bin Laden is now living freely in London after being released early from a US jail due to the high COVID-19 risk posed by his weight and asthma, Britain’s Daily Mail newspaper reported on Monday.
Egyptian national Adel Abdel Bary, 60, was jailed in the US for 25 years over the 1998 attacks on American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania that killed 224 people.
He was released three years early and returned to the UK after it was deemed that his obesity and asthma put him at high risk from COVID-19.
Abdel Bary and his family are now living in a £1 million ($1.3 million) house paid for by the local council in Maida Vale, northwest London, the Daily Mail reported.
The newspaper added that he had been spotted walking around the local area and looked to be in good health, despite his lawyers citing his ill health as an “extraordinary and compelling” reason for “compassionate” early release.
The lawyer for the father of six has claimed that Abdel Bary wants to live a quiet life with his family now that he has finished his sentence.
But Britain’s Daily Mirror newspaper reported that his activity is likely to be closely scrutinized by the state for a number of years, and security measures will have to be put in place for his safety.
Abdel Bary was granted asylum from Egypt in Britain in 1991, and soon after he arrived he established a terrorist cell that later merged with Al-Qaeda.
He was arrested in 1999 for transmitting Al-Qaeda’s claims of responsibility for the 1998 embassy bombings to the media, and was later extradited to the US, where he faced trial.
He was charged with 285 offenses by an American court but pleaded guilty to just a handful, including threatening to kill by means of explosive and conspiracy to murder US citizens abroad.
The judge overseeing his case said the 25-year sentence was the result of an “enormously generous plea bargain.”
Abdel Bary is the father of convicted Daesh terrorist Abdel-Majed Abdel, who was arrested in Spain after traveling to Syria, where he posed with the severed head of a government soldier. Abdel has been stripped of his British citizenship for fighting for the terrorist group.