US & Canada

Adel Abdul Bary pleads guilty in US embassy bombings

Egyptian Adel Abdul Bary, 54, is consoled as he wipes away tears while facing U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan (not pictured) in a Manhattan court in New York on September 19, 2014, in this courtroom sketch Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Adel Abdul Bary had spent more than a decade in UK prison during an extradition fight

An Egyptian man accused of helping to plan the 1998 bombings of US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania has pleaded guilty in a federal court in New York.

But a judge has not yet accepted a plea deal for Adel Abdul Bary, 54, that would see him serve 25 years in prison.

He was charged with conspiracy to murder and the use of weapons of mass destruction, among other counts.

More than 200 people were killed when the US embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam were attacked in August 1998.

Bary was extradited from the UK in 2012 along with Mustafa Kamal Mustafa, also known as Abu Hamza.

He pleaded guilty on Friday to several of the lesser of the more than 285 charges against him, including threatening to kill by means of explosive and conspiracy to murder US citizens abroad.

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionBary is alleged to have been a senior figure in al Qaeda

The judge has yet to rule on hundreds of other charges against him, including the murders of each person killed in the attacks and conspiracy to attack US national defence utilities.

On Friday, Bary wiped tears from his eyes and shook his head as he made the plea.

He admitted to using fax machines and phone calls to deliver messages of responsibility for the attacks to the news media, messages which included future threats against Americans.

"I arranged to transmit messages from media personnel to my co-conspirators, al-Zawahiri and Bin Laden,'' he said, reading from a statement.

Judge Lewis Kaplan said he wanted to hear further arguments before the more serious charges could be dropped.

'Questions'

He gave lawyers for both sides one week to submit arguments on why he should accept the deal, which would see Bary sentenced to 25 years, potentially with credit for time served in the UK.

"You can well appreciate why I have questions in my mind," Mr Kaplan said.

Bary would be permitted to withdraw the plea and proceed to trial if the judge rejects the deal.

Prosecutors told the hearing the US Attorney's office felt the plea deal was "appropriate with regard to this defendant and the role he played in a much larger conspiracy", saying he had no direct role in the killings.

Defense lawyer Andrew Patel agreed, saying: "I believe this is a just decision."

Bary was originally set to go on trial in November, alongside two others charged in terrorism cases.

He was arrested in the UK in 1999. The US requested his extradition soon after, alongside radical preacher Abu Hamza and three others accused in a lengthy terrorism indictment.

More on this story