NY terror case sheik's family seeks info on father

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Associated Press

Posted on May 9, 2014 at 12:34 PM

Updated Friday, May 9 at 2:08 PM

NEW YORK (AP) — The family of a blind Egyptian sheik serving a life sentence in a plot to blow up New York landmarks has asked a lawyer to get information about his precarious health condition now that he has been moved to a prison medical facility, a lawyer said Friday.

Omar Abdel-Rahman has been moved from the so-called Supermax federal prison in Florence, Colorado, to the Butner Federal Medical Center in North Carolina, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons website.

Abdel-Rahman, 76, is imprisoned for his 1995 conviction in a plot to blow up five New York City landmarks and to assassinate Egypt's then-president, Hosni Mubarak.

A prisons spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for comment Friday.

New York attorney Stanley Cohen said one of Abdel-Rahman's sons asked him several weeks ago to learn what he can about his father's medical issues. In the past, the sheik has suffered from complications caused by diabetes and heart issues.

"The family has great concerns about his health," Cohen said. The lawyer said he planned to visit Abdel-Rahman, obtain his medical records and request a physical examination for him.

Cohen said Abdel-Rahman is "still a very popular and charismatic figure in Egypt."

He said he had received several calls from clients and friends overseas concerned about the sheik's health.

"The word has just spread in the Middle East that he was having health problems," Cohen said.

The sheik is subject to strict special administrative measures that prohibit anyone, including his lawyers, from providing information to people outside the prison. Cohen said he has begun the process to be cleared to meet with Abdel-Rahman.

Lynne Stewart, a lawyer who represented him at his trial, agreed to the administrative procedures but then lost her license to practice law after she was convicted of providing material support to terrorists by issuing a press release that included a statement from him. She served more than four years of a 10-year prison sentence before she was freed on Dec. 31 as part of the prison compassionate release program after doctors concluded she had less than 18 months to live.

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