Federal Court is Right Choice for Al Libi Prosecution

Human Rights First, former FBI terrorism expert praise step to arraign al Libi in New York court

New York City – Human Rights First today praised the U.S. government’s decision to prosecute Abu Anas al Libi, an accused al Qaeda operative with ties to the 1998 U.S. Embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania, before a New York federal court. The organization notes that U.S. federal courts have an unparalleled record in successfully handling complex and high profile terrorism cases.

“Suspected terrorists belong in federal court, not indefinitely at sea and certainly not at Guantanamo,” said Human Rights First’s Daphne Eviatar, who has monitored terrorism trials both in federal courts and in the Guantanamo military commissions. “The federal justice system has proven to be the most effective way to bring terrorists to justice and to obtain critical intelligence about other potential perpetrators who threaten us.”

Don Borelli, a former Federal Bureau of Investigations terrorism expert, added, “The Obama Administration made the right call in transferring al Libi to an Article III court for prosecution.  Trying terrorism suspects in civilian courts have proven to be the most effective and efficient option.  Transferring al Libi to Guantanamo would merely have added uncertainty and unnecessary legal complexity to an already very complex case.”

Federal civilian criminal courts have convicted nearly 500 individuals on terrorism-related charges since the 9/11 attacks. These cases have been safely and successfully tried in 60 federal courts in 37 states. U.S. federal prisons currently hold more than 300 individuals convicted of terrorism related-offenses, including Zacarias Moussaoui, Faisal Shahzad, Ramzi Yousef and Richard Reid. In stark contrast, U.S. military commissions have convicted only seven terrorists and only three of them remain in prison.


Jury Still Out on Al-Libi Rendition (Foreign Policy in Focus article by Daphne Eviatar, 10/10/2013)

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Published on October 15, 2013


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