Thursday, October 17, 2013

Global Impact: Abu Anas al-Libi Appears in New York City Court for Arraignment, A Bad Precedent

According to The Latin American Tribune, Abu Anas al-Libi, an alleged planner of the simultaneous al-Qaeda terrorist attacks in both Dar es Salaam, Tanzania and Nairobi, Kenya on August 7, 1998, al-Libi pleaded not guilty in federal court to charges of participating in the organization of the bomb attacks against the US embassies in the two Sub-Saharan nations which claimed the lives of 229 people.

A public defender entered the plea on behalf of al-Libi, whose true name is Nazih Abdul Hamed al Ruqai.

Al-Libi was transported to New York City last weekend after he was captured on October 5 on Libyan soil in a US special forces operation and then interrogated on board the Navy ship, USS San Antonio.

The first appearance of the defendant, a 49-year-old Libyan, lasted just 10 minutes, during which the charges against him were read and he said that he had no way to pay for an attorney, whereupon a public defender was assigned to him.

Al-Libi was handcuffed, dressed in a gray jersey and white pants and wearing a long beard. He appeared calm during the court session, during which he requested the assistance of a translator.

COMMENT: Federal prosecutors said they would not ask for the death penalty and US District Court Judge Lewis Kaplan set the next hearing in the case for October 22.

Unfortunately, the Obama Administration incorrectly uses federal courts in prosecuting combatants which enables defendants charged in such courts the full procedural entitlements applicable to them under the Bill of Rights.

More appropriately, combatants engaged in the war on terrorism against the US should be charged and tried under military tribunals outside of the US where they are denied using a federal court to "grand-stand" their political rhetoric.