El Sayyid Nosair (born November 16, 1955) is an Egyptian-born American citizen and terrorist, convicted of involvement in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.
In 1994, Nosair was convicted in Federal Court of nine counts, including seditious conspiracy, murder in aid of racketeering, attempted murder in aid of racketeering, attempted murder of a postal police officer, use of a firearm in the commission of a murder, use of a firearm during an attempted murder, and possession of a firearm.
Nosair was still serving time in prison on the assault and weapons charges when he was convicted as part of the trial of the "Blind Sheik" Omar Abdel-Rahman. Both received life sentences for a Terror conspiracy, in Nosair's case life plus 15 years imprisonment. It was ruled that Kahane's death was part of the total "seditious conspiracy," so Nosair was also convicted of killing Kahane. He is serving his sentence in ADX Florence, the Federal ADX Supermax prison in Florence, Colorado.
See also: ADX Florence
El Sayyid Nosair was an immigrant to the United States from Port Said, in Egypt. Nosair arrived in 1981 with an engineering degree. In 1989, Nosair became an American citizen. In the United States, Nosair worked various jobs in New Jersey and New York City. Nosair was employed by the City of New York, for repairing air conditioning at the criminal courts building.
Nosair expressed dislike for American culture and perceived a lack of morality. Nosair became involved with the al-Farouq Mosque in Brooklyn, which was supported by the Maktab al-Khadamat (Services Office), which was established in 1984 by Osama bin Laden and Abdullah Azzam in Peshawar, Pakistan. The purpose of the Services Office was for raising funds for the Arab mujahadeen during the Soviet war in Afghanistan, as well as recruitment. As well, Ali Mohamed, a sergeant at Fort Bragg, provided United States Army manuals and other assistance to individuals at the al-Farouq Mosque, and some members including Nosair practiced at the Calverton Shooting Range on Long Island.
In 1990, Nosair assassinated Meir Kahane, the controversial leader of the Jewish Defense League and Kach, in Manhattan. The Kahane assassination occurred on November 5, 1990, shortly after 9 p.m., following a speech to an audience of mostly orthodox Jews from Brooklyn. A crowd of well-wishers gathered around Kahane following the speech in the second-floor lecture hall in midtown Manhattan's Marriott East Side Hotel. El Sayyid Nosair, who was among the crowd wearing a red leisure suit and white patent leather shoes, drew a gun and opened fire, shooting Kahane in the neck.
Nosair then made a getaway, intending to get into a cab driven by an accomplice. Instead, Nosair got into another cab, driven by a Hispanic from the Bronx. When the cab got stuck in traffic, Nosair got out of the cab and attempted to flee on foot. Carlos Acosta, a police officer for the U.S. Postal Service Police, took chase after Nosair, and they exchanged gunfire before Nosair was apprehended.
Both Nosair and Acosta were injured and taken to Bellevue Hospital. Acosta, who was wearing a bullet-proof vest, suffered a gunshot wound in the arm, while Nosair had a gunshot wound to his chin. Also injured was Irving Franklin, a 73-year-old bystander, who was shot in the leg when he tried to stop Nosair from leaving the lecture hall.
In a split verdict described by Abramson as "bizarre", a jury in December 1991 acquitted Nosair of the murder but convicted him of assault and possession of an illegal firearm. He was also convicted of related charges, including shooting a U. S. Postal Service Police Officer. He was defended by William Kunstler (along with two co-counsels), who at first advised him to plead insanity. When Nosair refused, the defense argued that there had been a conspiracy against Nosair and Kahane might have been killed by one of his followers. Kunstler saw the composition of the jury (which he described as being made up of "third-world people" and "people who were not yuppies or establishment types") as crucial to the verdict.
The judge in the trial, Justice Alvin Schlesinger, said that the jury's acquittal of Nosair on the murder charge "was against the overwhelming weight of evidence and was devoid of common sense and logic". The judge added that "I believe the defendant conducted a rape of this country, of our Constitution and of our laws, and of people seeking to exist peacefully together." He sentenced Nosair to 7 1/3 to 22 years in prison, the maximally allowed term.
Kunstler also saw the split verdict as irrational, promising to appeal Nosair's convictions.
Conspiracy to free Nosair from prison
Nosair was originally sentenced to serve his time in Attica State Prison in New York. It was reported that prior to his arrest, Omar Abdul-Rahman (the “Blind Sheikh”) and his followers conducted detailed surveillance of the facility and had discussed plans to use a truck bomb attack combined with an armed assault to rescue Nosair from prison.
In 2002, Eleanor Hill, director of the Senate Intelligence Committee investigating intelligence failures prior to the Attacks of September 11, 2001, reported that Osama Bin Laden helped pay for Nosair's legal defense for his trial for the murder of Kahane. Hill wrote that during that trial the FBI learned that one of Nosair's relatives "traveled to Saudi Arabia to obtain money to pay for Nosair's defense" and that "He received funds from a wealthy Saudi - Usama Bin Ladin." Ron Kuby, one of Nosair's lawyers in the 1991 state case, later stated that a cousin of Nosair's paid for some of the legal expenses with money he said was raised by "family and friends." However, he stressed that "We never got any checks signed Osama Bin Laden. We just barely got paid. We barely covered expenses."