On Wednesday, the civilian jury ultimately found Ahmed Ghailani guilty of only one charge — conspiracy to destroy government buildings. But it acquitted him of more than 280 other charges, including 224 counts of murder in the bombings in Tanzania and Kenya. Ghailani, who now faces 20 years to life in prison, is the only person transferred from Guantanamo Bay for trial since the U.S. began filling the military prison in Cuba eight years ago.
Cdr. Kirk Lippold (USN-Ret.), now the senior military fellow at Military Families United, describes the court decision as “a mockery of justice [that] weakens our nation’s security.” He argues that President Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder need to abandon their policy of trying terrorist suspects in civilian courts.
“[This verdict] should be the strongest signal possible to the attorney general — who has opposed military commissions — that it is time to stop with this quest to try and use our federal court system and [instead] use the venue that Congress has set up,” says the retired Navy commander. “…Let’s move forward with military commissions to hold Khalid Sheik Mohammad and the 9/11 conspirators accountable [and] to hold al Nashiri and the USS Cole bomber accountable.”
Otherwise, says Lippold, Holder should consider resigning as U.S. attorney general and return to private law practice.
“Quite frankly, the attorney general at this point — given where he has stood on a number of issues; given where he has been able to pick and choose what laws he’s going to enforce and who he’s going to enforce them against — seriously needs to consider whether he is adding value to this administration, or should perhaps consider going back to his law firm where he can go represent terrorists rather than Americans.”
Lippold remains hopeful that future cases involving terrorist detainees, including the one involving the attack on his former ship, will be tried by military commissions in order to assure justice is served.
I second that motion
Family Research Council president Tony Perkins, a former Marine, agrees. Speaking Thursday on American Family Radio’s Today’s Issues, Perkins said Ghailani should have gone before a military tribunal instead of a civilian court. “The administration’s effort to move these into the civilian judicial realm was a huge mistake,” he stated. “These are combatants. These guys are trying to kill Americans. We’re at war with them. And so, we’re [supposed to be] treating them like military combatants.”
And like Perkins, Jordan Sekulow of the American Center for Law & Justice tells OneNewsNow the Justice Department made a mistake in taking the case to civil court — where the judge would not allow a confession or testimony from a key witness. (Listen to audio report)
“In a military tribunal, it would not be an issue — the same kind of due process rights you don’t get when you’re part of a foreign military group or a foreign terrorist group,” explains the attorney. “So in a military tribunal, that witness would have testified, the judge would have been able to take that into account, and we would have definitely had a much more severe outcome.”
Sekulow admits he is appalled at the outcome as well because Ghailani confessed to having a role in bombings that claimed 224 lives, including 12 Americans. The ACLJ attorney is hopeful the case will send a message to Attorney General Eric Holder to transfer the remaining cases to military courts.
“I hope that this is a reminder to Eric Holder that when it comes to the top of the top, we don’t need this kind of embarrassment,” he remarks.
Sekulow also finds it upsetting that the Department of Justice is satisfied with a conviction on only one count and the potential 20 years-to-life sentence.
Copyright 2010 American Family News Network – Used by permission