President Barack Obama’s appointees won an early prison release for a progressive lawyer who collaborated with the Muslim jihadi leader of the 1993 attack on New York’s Twin Towers.
The 1993 attack failed to topple the building, but it did kill six Americans. The jihadi plotters had hoped the first tower would collapse and destroy the second tower in the process, killing all the Americans in both structures.
The failed attack was a model for Osama bin Laden’s successful atrocity in 2001, when his Muslim jihadis killed 3,000 New Yorkers.
The released left-wing lawyer, Lynne Stewart, 74, was sentenced in 2005 to a decade-long sentence for acting as a courier for her jihadi client, Omar Abdel-Rahman, who was jailed in 1995 for urging the Twin Towers attack.
Stewart’s allies said she should be released from prison because she’s suffering from cancer and is expected to die in 18 months. The nearly 3,000 Americans who burned to death, were crushed by steel and concrete debris or leapt out of the Twin Towers during the September 11 attacks were not available for comment.
In jail, Rahman used Stewart to pass messages to, and also to end a ceasefire by, an Egyptian jihadi force that he had created. The force is called “The islamic Group,” or the GIA, for its Arabic name, Al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya. Rahman is still popular among jihadis, partly because his jihadis killed so many Egyptian security forces, Egyptian Christians and western tourists.
Rahman was legally residing in New York when he persuaded immigrant Muslims to carry out the first Twin Towers attack.
Jihad expert Peter Bergen has said Abdel Rahman was the “spiritual guide of 9/11,” because he was a credentialed Muslim cleric who provided an Islamic rationale for bin Laden’s 2001 attack. From his U.S. cell, Rahman urged Muslims to “kill them in the sea, on land and in the air.”
In 2013, Egypt’s islamist president, Mohamad Morsi, asked Obama to release Rahman from jail, as did the brother of Al Qaida’s current leader, an Egyptian named Ayman al Zawahiri.
Prior to Morsi’s rule, the GIA formed an Islamic political party that worked with Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood movement to draft an Islamic constitution for the country. Similar to many constitutions imposed by progressive and left-wing governments, the Islamic constitution sought to create a heaven on Earth. As required by orthodox Islam, it created an apartheid-like legal system that relegated Christians and women to a subordinate place.
One of the GIA’s leaders was appointed by Morsi as an Islamist governor of a southern province. Rahman’s followers also organized the 2012 riot and attack on the U.S. Embassy in Cairo to help win his release. Morsi was deposed in 2012, despite support from Obama.
Stewart has made a career of working for left-wing and progressive clients, including Rahman and members of the Black Panther and the Weather Underground terror groups.
The left-wing lawyer told the Washington Post that she choose to defend Rahman because “my own political sense tells me that the only hope for change in Egypt is the [Islamic] fundamentalist movement.”
Stewart’s release was quietly announced on during the busy New Year’s Eve holiday by New York U.S. District Judge John Koeltl, who was nominated to the bench by President Bill Clinton in 1994. Koeltl had originally sentenced Stewart to 28 months, but was forced by an appeals court to impose a 10 year sentence on the jihadi collaborator.
Koeltl had earlier denied a request for her release, but changed his mind after pressure from Obama’s Bureau of Prisons and from his appointee, Preet Bharara, the federal U.S. attorney in Manhattan.
Bharara is a former aide to New York Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer, and a likely future candidate for political office. His leading role among Democrats was reinforced when Time magazine put him on its front cover in 2012.
Lynne’s release was also sought by leading New York progressives, including activists at the Center for Constitutional Rights.