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Judicial Dread
by David Vance
29 April 2004

Each time an Al Queda suspect is detected the European judiciary finds ways to set him free.

At a time when the global Jihadists have shown that they will strike without mercy and with no regard for the sanctity of human life, it is imperative that liberty loving nations stand together and ensure that the guilty terrorists are brought to justice. The Judiciary in each democratic country has a central function to play in this battle but recent developments in Europe are ominous.

In the past few days, the British Home Secretary, David Blunkett has described the decision by British judges to release an Algerian man with alleged links to al-Queda as "extraordinary." The 35-year-old detainee, known only as "G," had been held at an English prison for more than two years but he has now been freed on mental health grounds.  The Judges who made this bizarre decision accepted the argument that the Algerian man was potentially dangerous with worrying Al Queda links. However, they argued that the man's mental deterioration made it less likely he would become involved in potentially dangerous activity.

Think about that for one moment; less likely? Surely any sensible person must reason that it makes it more likely for such a disturbed individual to become involved in terrorist activities. After all, if a man seeks to join the murdering hordes of Bin Laden whilst retaining a nominal level of sanity, what is he likely to do when the last vestiges of this disappears!

Here’s the good news. "G" will be kept under constant surveillance, can only receive Home Office-approved visitors and will not be allowed access to a telephone or the internet. Tough love indeed! I guess these Judges have never heard of Internet cafés!   

Another British Al Queda suspect -- known as "M" -- was also released a month ago when judges decided there was no irrefutable evidence that he was linked to terrorism. Speaking to the left wing BBC, he said: "They (the police) did not question me once. If I am a suspect of terrorism, if they are thinking maybe I will do something against this government or this country, why didn't they come to me to ask me any questions?" The Director of the hard-left civil rights group Liberty, Shami Chakrabarti, said detaining people without trial showed the government had a "terrifying contempt for the rule of law" and was showing a "complete failure to observe the presumption of innocence." So in essence, it is only when a jetliner crashes into the Tower of London or a suit-case nuke detonates in the Royal Mall that our Judiciary and civil rights activists will awaken to the real and present danger staring us in the face. 

Such outlandish judicial behavior is not restricted to the United Kingdom. A German court has also recently released Mounir el-Motassadeq, the only man convicted in connection with the September 11 terrorist attacks, pending a new trial later this year.  The release of  Motassadeq, who was serving a 15-year sentence on more than 3,000 counts of accessory to murder, followed a decision by a German appeals court last month to reverse his conviction. The court ruled that Mr. Motassadeq had been denied a fair trial because of the refusal of the United States to allow testimony by a captured terrorist suspect. Say again? Because the US won’t permit one terrorist to give evidence in support of another he gets out of jail? And this is European justice?

German prosecutors contended that Motassadeq was a key figure in the Al Queda Hamburg cell, which included Mohamed Atta. In the months leading up to Sept. 11, Motassadeq helped to transfer funds into the accounts of the hijacker-pilots while they were preparing the plot. But while Motassadeq admitted that he once attended an Al Queda training camp in Afghanistan, he has contended all along that he had no advance knowledge of the September 11 plot, and that in carrying out the activities cited against him by the prosecution, he was merely doing favors for fellow Muslims.  Poor lamb – he was only following orders! No wonder the Germans felt sympathy for him.

Each time an Al Queda suspect is detected the European judiciary find ways to set him free. This is done with scant regard to the message this sends back to the terror warlords. Europe is seen as a useful carrier base from which Al Queda and its affiliates can operate with relative impunity, from which they can plan attacks on the United States and its global interests and from which they can expect to obtain a sympathetic anti-US media hearing.

The failure of the European Judiciary to come to terms with the terrorist malignancy in our midst may yet carry lethal consequences. Are they pronouncing a death sentence of those democracies that are valiantly trying to defeat international terrorism? Have the Judges become the terrorists’ best friends?

David Vance is a UK-based political commentator. Having previously been the Deputy Leader of the UK Unionist Party, he decided it is better to be outside the tent peering in! His web site is A TANGLED WEB

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