In an exclusive interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer in Cairo, Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, of the Muslim Brotherhood, said he wants President Barack Obama to release Omar Abdel-Rahman, also known as the “Blind Sheikh.” The blind Egyptian cleric was convicted in connection with the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and is currently in U.S. custody.

“I want him to be free,” Morsi said, “but I respect the law and the rule of law in Egypt and the Untied States. What I am talking about isn’t a violation…There could be things like visitation, assistance, his children, his family, assisting him.  He is an old sheikh and sick and blind.”

While Morsi claims he merely wants Abdel-Rahman back in Egypt based on humanitarian and health concerns, the terrorist cleric is a revered figure in the country and many fear he would be released completely once in Egyptian custody.

I Want Him to Be Free: Egypts Morsi Wants U.S. to Release the Blind Sheikh

In this image released by the Egyptian Presidency, President Mohammed Morsi. Credit: AP

“I wish that there could be a big possibility for the American administration to look into this matter about this sheikh, who is very old, without there being, I don’t intend on violating the rule of law in anyplace.  And I don’t like anyone asking me to violate the rule of law in my own country,” he added.

Morsi went on to say that he will address the issue when he meets with Obama sometime before March.

When asked what he thinks about Obama, Morsi said: “I respect him and I value him. He played an effective and important role in the cease-fire in regards to Gaza and the end of attacks against Gaza. He cooperated with us in a big way and I’m still in constant communication with him. When we meet, there will be a chance to talk about cooperation in different areas, like scientific research, manufacturing and production, investments and tourism.”

The federal government has denied previous reports that the Obama administration was ever considering releasing the Blind Sheikh into Egyptian custody.

“Reports saying otherwise are completely and unequivocally false,” National Security Staff spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan said.

 

Featured image via AFP/Getty

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