Why Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and his gang should be tried in New York - Macleans.ca

Why Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and his gang should be tried in New York

Critics missing the point of the trial—”to put forth a better political message”

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In a deftly written piece on Slate.com, legal columnist Dahlia Lithwick takes on critics of the Obama administration’s plan to try alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and his confederates in a federal court in New York City. To opponents like former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani who griped that trying the accused on New York soil is giving the terrorists what they want, she notes: “The most vocal critics seem to forget that our legal system exists not to grant requests or dash hopes but to bring people to justice.” Taking that argument to its logical extension, she points out, would mean not imposing the death penalty, as Sarah Palin has advocated: “you can’t really argue for Attorney General Eric Holder’s plan to seek the death penalty either, since what they want most of all is to be martyred.” Most of the criticism has been more about “political theatre” than justice, Lithwick writes, adding: “The purpose of a criminal trial isn’t to suppress a political message. It’s to put forth a better political message: namely, that we believe in our legal system.”

Slate

 

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