Constitutional Law

Pointing to recent NYC conviction, AG Eric Holder calls for more civilian terrorism trials

The terrorism-support conviction of an adviser to Osama bin Laden by a civilian jury in federal court in New York City last month shows that the nation’s criminal justice system is working and should be relied on in other such cases, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said Tuesday in a visit with prosecutors there.

The verdict against Sulaiman Abu Ghaith “has proven beyond any doubt that proceedings such as these can safely occur in the city I am proud to call home, as in other locations across our nation,” said Holder. The al-Qaida propagandist is the most senior member of the terrorist group to be tried and convicted in the U.S. since the Sept. 11 attacks by hijacked commercial airliner flights, according to the Associated Press and USA Today.


ABA file photo of Eric Holder by Tony Avelar

Federal prosecutors have convicted 165 individuals in terrorism-related cases since the 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, Holder says. However, security concerns and discomfort with having high-profile terrorism suspects close at hand has led some to call for their cases to be handled by American military tribunals

“The system is both tried and tested,” the AG stated. “Its strength is founded on more than two centuries of rigorous precedent and deep experience. Abu Ghaith was not the first individual to be convicted in a federal court for his role in terrorist activities, and he will not be the last.”

See also:

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (opinion): “Routine justice: A prominent 9/11 case succeeds in civilian court “

San Angelo Standard Times (opinion): “No surprise, NYC handles terrorist trial successfully”

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