NEW YORK — An obese al-Qaeda terrorist convicted for the 1998 US embassy bombings in Africa was sprung from prison early after a judge agreed his weight and age put him at heightened risk to die from coronavirus behind bars.
Adel Abdel Bary, 60, had spent 21 years in a New Jersey lockup for his role in the 1998 bombings that killed 224 people, but was let loose in early October, several weeks before his sentence was due to end..
“Defendant’s obesity and somewhat advanced age make COVID-19 significantly more risky to him than to the average person,” US District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan wrote in granting the release.
Bary had been set to be freed on Oct. 28, but his attorneys asked that he be let out sooner, citing their client’s age, girth and asthma.
“Mr. Bary’s continued incarceration now significantly increases his risk of infection, which could wreak disastrous health outcomes,” his lawyer wrote to the judge.
While prosecutors didn’t agree that Bary’s age made him more at risk to catch COVID-19, they did concede his 230-pound bulk did.
“The defendant’s obesity is an extraordinary and compelling reason that could justify a reduction of his sentence in light of the current pandemic,” they wrote.
Bary was set free on Oct. 9 and from an Immigration and Customs Enforcement facility on Wednesday and handed over to UK officials where he had received asylum years before his terrorism conviction.
He had been arrested in the UK in 1999 but fought extradition to the US and didn’t stand trial until 2012. He had been sentenced to 25 years in prison in 2015 but received credit for the years he spent behind bars in Britain.
Officials couldn’t send him back to his native Egypt after his release because he could be at risk of death or torture, the Sun reported.
“His return remains a huge headache for the [UK] home secretary” a source told the Sun.“She is intent on ridding the country of threats, but here’s a notorious terrorist dumped right on her doorstep.”