July 27, 2005

Reason 5,239 Why Terrorism Cases Should Be Tried Militarily

The man arrested for his involvement in the "Millenium Plot" has been sentenced today for a whopping 22 years. Twenty-two years?

SEATTLE (AP) — An Algerian [Ahmed Ressam] who plotted to bomb the Los Angeles airport on the eve of the millennium was sentenced to 22 years in prison Wednesday by a judge who used the opportunity to sternly criticize the Bush administration's anti-terrorism tactics.

"We did not need to use a secret military tribunal, detain the defendant indefinitely as an enemy combatant or deny the defendant the right to counsel," U.S. District Judge John C. Coughenour said. "The message to the world from today's sentencing is that our courts have not abandoned our commitment to the ideals that set our nation apart."

Wrong! A man who attempted to kill hundreds of Americans gets sentenced to twenty-two years in prison is an outrage. Not only was this case blown in terms of an inadequate sentence, a connected case in England and one in Germany will not be able to proceed without the testimony afforded. If this had been a military tribunal, there may have been a way to provide testimony to these other two cases.

When taken into context of another case which wrapped up this past month, that of Islamic cleric al-Timimi out of Virginia was sentenced to life in prison for encouraging jihadis to fight U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan, this is a slap on the wrist. Ressam intended on setting off explosives, found in his trunk by an alert Border Patrol agent, at LAX which again would have killed hundreds of U.S. citizens. This plot is believed to be connected to Al Qaida, so now we've sentenced an Al Qaida henchman who has tried to kill U.S. citizens to 22 years in prison. Good job.

In other terrorism-related jurisprudence, a man believed to be connected to the brutal killing and decapitation of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl was found and arrested in Pakistan.

Cross-posted at ITB

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