Al Masri Guilty Verdict Demonstrates Effectiveness of Federal Courts

New York City – Human Rights First today expressed that the jury conviction of Mostafa Kamel Mostafa, also known as Abu Hamza al Masri, of 11 terrorism-related charges demonstrates that U.S. federal courts are the most appropriate and effective places to try terrorism cases.

“Once again, this is evidence that there is no need to continue to run a legally-questionable makeshift court system at Guantanamo Bay, or to continue to indefinitely detain suspected terrorists at Guantanamo or anywhere else,” said Human Rights First’s Daphne Eviatar. “Anyone accused of perpetrating terrorist acts against the United States can be brought to trial fairly and expeditiously right here at home.”

Over the course of the month-long trial, the prosecution brought forth a wealth of evidence demonstrating the defendant’s connection to the 1998 kidnappings of American tourists in Yemen and to the attempt to set up a terrorist training camp in Oregon. Represented by an able defense team, the defendant had ample opportunity to defend himself and even took the witness stand in his own defense. As with hundreds of other terrorism cases brought in U.S. federal courts since 9/11, this one was handled efficiently and fairly by the federal judge and the highly experienced attorneys involved.

Federal courts have completed nearly 500 cases related to international terrorism since 9/11. Of those, 67 cases have involved individuals captured overseas, according to Department of Justice data obtained by Human Rights First in a Freedom of Information Act request.

Meanwhile, military commissions have convicted only 8 individuals since 9/11. Two of those convictions were recently overturned on appeal.

For more information about prosecuting terrorism cases, please see Human Rights First’s fact sheets Federal Courts Continue to Take Lead in Counterterrorism Prosecutions and Myth v. Fact: Trying Terrorism Suspects in Federal Court. For more information about Human Rights First’s plan for closing the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, please read the organization’s blueprint How to Close Guantanamo.


Published on May 19, 2014


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