Jewish World Review Jan. 23, 2003 / 20 Shevat, 5763
Why the feds should not give up on the prosecution of alleged
20th hijacker in a federal court
The administration will soon decide
whether to transfer him to the military as an
enemy combatant. Why the possible change in
status? Because Moussaoui wants to call the
other so-called 20th hijacker, Ramzi Binalshibh,
as a defense witness.
Moussaoui argues he should get to interview
Binalshibh. The Pentagon is right.
They must be able to restrict Moussaoui's access to
fellow terrorists, but there are ways to address this problem.
If necessary, have government official conduct the
interviews, have the judge review Binalshibh's possible
testimony to see if it's actually exculpatory. And in a
worst-case scenario, if the judge rules against the
government, the federal court of appeals in Virginia is one of
the most conservative in the country.
More than likely, they would side with the government.
Look, I support classifying some as enemy combatants and
Moussaoui, you know, would certainly fit the bill when he
was charged. But to change his status now sends the
message that in the post 9/11 world, round one in our court
system goes to al Qaeda and sends the wrong message to
our friends and foes alike.
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JWR contributor Dan Abrams anchors The Abrams Report, Monday through Friday from 6-7 p.m. ET on MSNBC TV. He also covers legal stories for NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw, Today and Dateline NBC. To visit his website, click here. Comment by clicking here.
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