29 June 2014

Benghazi suspect belongs in federal court

Libyan national Ahmed Abu Khatallah, a suspect in the Benghazi bombing, is in U.S. custody and has been arraigned in federal court.

Some in the GOP think he should be sent to Gitmo and tried in the kangaroo-court-style military commission system there, which has done little to achieve justice and has done much to erode America's image in the world with regard to human rights and the rule of law.

If our federal courts were good enough for Timothy McVeigh, and good enough to effectively lock away the perpetrators of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, then they're certainly good enough for Abu Khatallah.

In fact, they're more effective than the military tribunals, as the Center for American Progress pointed out a few years ago:

"The facts are clear: Criminal courts are a far tougher and more reliable forum for prosecuting terrorists than military commissions.


"The extensive record of criminal courts in successfully prosecuting terrorists stands in stark contrast with the shockingly poor military commissions system. Since 2001 - the same period in which military commissions have convicted just three terrorists - criminal courts have convicted more than 200 individuals on terrorism charges, or 65 times more than military commissions. Criminal courts racked up these convictions with none of the uncertainty that still plagues the military commissions system."

So those of us who oppose Guantanamo are not soft on terrorism. Quite the opposite, in fact. And we can sleep at night because, unlike Gitmo's sytem, our way complies with U.S. and international law.

Effective and legal vs. ineffective and extralegal: Shouldn't it be a no-brainer?

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