It Took Only Two Years to Convict Boston Marathon Bomber. 9/11 Perpetrators: 14 Years and Counting

This afternoon, a federal jury in Boston found Dzhokhar Tsarnaev guilty of all 30 charges stemming from the Boston Marathon bombing on April 15, 2013. Dzhokhar, along with his older brother Tamerlan, constructed and detonated two bombs that killed three observers and seriously injured hundreds more. They were also responsible for killing a police officer during their attempted escape from Boston.

These verdicts come less than two years after the bombing despite the seriousness and complexity of the charges, including conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction resulting in death, conspiracy to bomb a public place, and using a weapon of mass destruction resulting in death.

Today’s results demonstrate the effectiveness of our civilian court system in terrorism trials. Tsarnaev is only the latest of hundreds to be convicted in a terrorism trial in a federal court.

Proponents of the military commissions at Guantanamo Bay claim that our federal court system isn’t equipped to handle cases like this. In fact, the military commissions aren’t up to the task. It’s been more than a decade since the first detainees were sent to Guantanamo Bay. Of the hundreds that have been held there, only eight have been convicted—and three of the convictions have been overturned.

Instead of closure and justice, victims and their families get complication and delays. The three most recent scheduled hearings were cancelled. No one knows exactly how long it will take to resolve the cases against the men accused of orchestrating the attacks against the USS Cole and September 11th.

This is unacceptable. Our federal courts are capable of efficiently handling terrorism trials. Congress needs to acknowledge that the military commissions are ineffective and allow the pending cases to be moved to the United States. Members of Congress should reject any legislation that would restrict these transfers.

The need for justice is greater than politics. The victims and their families deserve to see these cases move forward and brought to a just conclusion.


Published on April 8, 2015


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