Daniel Freedman: A Terrorist Getting Life Is ‘A Miscarriage of Justice’?
January 25, 2011

By Daniel Freedman


Today a judge sentenced Ahmed Ghailani — the first former Guantanamo Bay detainee put through the civilian court system — to life in prison for his participation in 1998 East Africa Embassy bombings. Is this what Representative Peter King of New York meant when he described the trial as a “total miscarriage of justice”?

Compare Ghailani’s life sentence to the fate of Salim Hamdan, Bin Laden’s personal driver — tried in a military commission — who received (in 2008) a five-and-a-half year sentence, and, because of time served, he was shortly after released. Is this what the Washington Post meant when in a news piece it opined on the Ghailani verdict that: “The outcome, a surprise, seriously undermines — and could doom — the Obama administration’s plans to put other Guantanamo detainees on trial in U.S. civilian courts”? (For more on the Ghailani case please see this November 19, 2010, Politico article.)

The reality is that both civilian courts and military commissions have a role to play in trying terrorists (as my colleague Ali Soufan explained here). The venue should be the decision of the professionals — the prosecutors and FBI Agents who built the case, know the specifics, and understand the differing systems…

As the prosecutor announced today after the verdict:

“I salute the unflagging commitment, dedication, and talent of the FBI agents who so thoroughly investigated this case and the prosecutors who so ably tried it.  They spent years of their lives putting this case together — traveling around the world, interviewing hundreds of witnesses, and piecing together fragments of evidence from the bombed-out shells of two American embassies.”

The next few days will tell whether…


To read the full article please click on the link below:http://blogs.forbes.com/danielfreedman/2011/01/25/a-terrorist-getting-life-is-a-miscarriage-of-justice