Somali Terror Suspect to Be Tried on U.S. Soil
Posted on Jul 6, 2011
A suspected Somali terrorist who was captured and secretly interrogated aboard a U.S. Navy ship for two months while a terror case was built against him was flown from the Gulf of Aden to New York earlier this week to be tried in civilian court.
Bringing 25-year-old Ahmed Abdulkadir Warsame to U.S. soil for a public trial rather than to a place like Guantanamo Bay for secret, open-ended detention represents an effort by the Obama administration to be more transparent in its dealings with suspected terrorists. The administration’s decision to try the case in a public proceeding rather than before a military commission is undoubtedly a bold move in the direction of basic human rights, but coupled with secret, months-long interrogations, does it go far enough? —BF
The New York Times:
While the Justice Department called Mr. Warsame a “Shabab leader,” it does not accuse him of plotting any specific attack. Officials gave conflicting accounts of his significance: one portrayed him as a “senior operational commander” while another played down his role, saying that his capture was instead important because he had provided large amounts of intelligence about the groups and ties between them.
Regardless, his case is likely to have outsize significance in the political arena because it resonates with intense debates surrounding the administration’s counterterrorism policies — including whether to bring newly captured detainees to the military prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba; whether to prosecute terrorism cases in civilian court or before a military commission; and what rights terrorism suspects have during interrogation.
U.S. Navy / Matthew Bash
The sun sets behind a U.S. Navy ship in the Gulf of Aden.