Egypt: Morsi to seek release of Islamist militant from USA

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Mohammad Morsi
Cairo, Jun 29: Egyptian President-elect Mohammad Morsi would seek release of Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman, the Egypt-born militant Islamist convicted, after the 1993 World Trade Center attack, of planning to bomb several New York City landmarks. He was also accused of plotting to assassinate the former Egyptian President, Hosni Mubarak, who was a close ally of the US. It looks certain that Morsi's plan would create problem for the country's relation with Washington in days to come.

On Friday, Morsi, the first Islamist President-elect of Egypt, declared in the Tahrir Square that he would take up the people's fight and defy rulings of the military men. He also opened his jacket to show to the people that he was not wearing any protective gear and was a common entity.

Morsi's pledge to try for Abdel-Rahman's release is perhaps the first populist speech made by him. He also promised to release all Egyptian protesters detained and facing military courts.

Morsi, who told the assembly of supporters that he would not give up any of the presidential authorities and no other force like the military or the police were to be allowed to raise its head above the legitimate authority. Political quarters, however, believe that Morsi's gesture of gearing up for a power struggle with the army generals who had taken over major powers of the president and disbanded the Islamist-controlled parliament on Jun 14, two days prior to the presidential poll, was more of a populist stance. The Muslim Brotherhood leader was set to be sworn in as the President on Saturday at the high court and not the parliament, as was dictated by the army men, something which tells who still the actual power-holder is.

On the mission to release Abdel-Rahman, it was not clear about how Morsi would go about to keep his promise made to the ultra-conservative supporters. The US State Department, it is learnt, already said that there was little chance of Abdel-Rahman, who is currently serving a life term in the US, being repatriated on humanitarian grounds.

Morsi stressed on the sovereignty of the people, the importance of a united nation and remaining committed to the goals of revolution during his Friday speech.

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