January 17, 1996
Web posted at: 12:25 p.m. EST
From Correspondent Brian Jenkins
New York (CNN) -- Islamic cleric Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman and nine other men, convicted last October for conspiring to wage war against the United States, are to be sentenced Wednesday in U.S. Federal Court in New York.
Abdel-Rahman faces a mandatory life sentence for conspiring to murder Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in the spring of 1993.
El-Sayyid Nosair, convicted of murdering Jewish extremist Meir Kahane in 1990, also faces a life sentence. The eight other men convicted in the nine-month trial could be sentenced to 25 to 30 years for seditious conspiracy, conspiracy to bomb, and attempted bombing.
Each defendant is to be given a half hour to speak in court on his own behalf in English, or a full hour if he chooses to speak in his native language. The sheik's lawyers said he planned to use every minute to proclaim his innocence. (221K AIFF sound or 221K WAV sound)
Prosecutors painted Abdel-Rahman as the spiritual guide and leader of a "seditious" conspiracy to wage a war of terrorism in the United States, hoping to force the United States to drop its support of Egypt and Israel.
An Egyptian informant tape-recorded the sheik responding to questions about which buildings in New York should be bombed. Others said he approved a plot to assassinate Mubarak. An anonymous jury of six men and six women found the sheik guilty on all counts.
Nosair, an Egyptian immigrant, has denounced the FBI's informant, a one-time Egyptian army officer named Emad Salem. "There was an injustice that happened in this case," he said a month after his conviction. "I maintain my innocence in regards to the charges."
The jury also found a cousin of Nosair, Ibrahim El-Gabrowney, along with a gas station owner, guilty of joining the conspiracy. They were accused of providing diesel fuel for bombs. The defendants also include a man from Brooklyn who was accused of agreeing to obtain bomb detonators, four men caught on videotape mixing explosives at a garage in Queens rented by the informant, and a Sudanese immigrant who joined in earlier conversations at the garage.
Sentencing proceedings were expected to last until evening.
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