MMK Takeaway


Momin Khawaja — the first person to be charged and sentenced under Canada’s anti-terrorism legislation — has received an additional 10 and a half years in prison, on top the the five or so he has already spent in custody.

I’m still working through Judge Rutherford’s reasoning, but the near-consensus in the legal community seems to be this: What this case proves, more than anything, is that Canada can prosecute and convict terror within the broad parameters of the existing criminal code. No need for secret trials, no need for Gitmoesque prisons. And — almost certainly — no need for the two anti-terror provisions that expired and which the Conservatives are trying to renew — the ones pertaining to preventive arrest and coercive testimony.

Hooray for Canada.

UPDATE: Here’s a link to Judge Rutherford’s Reasons for Sentence.


MMK Takeaway

  1. When you’re finished working through Judge Rutherford’s reasoning, perhaps you could enlighten us how it relates to preventive arrests without a warrant.

  2. You may well be right about the lack of necessity for the provisions you deplore.
    You may not conclude that MMK’s conviction without those provisions is the single defining proof of their futility in other circumstances.
    Look! A flower sprouted in my garden even though I never watered the garden. Guess there’s no point to ever water the garden again, or irrigate the corn field, or refill the gerbil’s bottle…

    • I’m hesitant to engage in discussions on blogs, and not to put words in AP’s mouth, but. . .

      There are, I think, two possible positions. The first is that the state has enough power, under the criminal law and the law of war, as they stand, to deal with terrorism. The second is that the state needs a third sort of power — unbound by the procedural, common-law and constitutional protections that characterize criminal law, but outside of the traditionally narrow ambit of the law of war — to deal with terrorism. That the state managed to capture, prosecute, convict and sentence a terrorist without the aid of special terror laws is certainly support for the first position, and is more persuasive than what is in essence an appeal to ignorance: “well, we got him this time, but we don’t know what’s going to happen next time.”

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