Jewish World Review Jan. 23, 2003 / 20 Shevat, 5763

Dan Abrams

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Why the feds should not give up on the prosecution of alleged 20th hijacker in a federal court


http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | 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.

Up

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11/13/02: Should Moussaoui be sent to a military tribunal?
11/12/02: Should human rights activists complain about the detainees' treatment?

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