Alarming News

May 28, 2004

I’m shaking in my boots.

Britain says it wants to speedily process a US extradition request for radical Muslim cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri in a move that could see him jailed for life on terror charges.

Oooooh, jailed for life, how scary. Sandwiches, card games, books, sleeping as much as you want, any drug you can ever desire, writing letters to the outside world (and, hey, if you write stirring op-eds, Paris will give you a key to the city ala Mumia), getting a degree, having coffee with your breakfast, playing sports outside in the summer, conjugal visits with your wife and most importantly, still being able to direct a terror program on the outside. And his victims? Eh, who cares. And his crimes? Something about setting up terrorist training camps in Oregon and taking tourists hostage in Yemen. They’re uh, all dead. And he should be too.

Wow. I guess I do care one way or the other about the death penalty after all.

Posted by Karol at 11:27 AM |

Given the choice between (1) seeing him tried in the UK and possibly being paroled or (2) having him extradited with the death penalty taken off the table, I think the life without parole option here still serves the US’s interests better regardless of view of death penalty. (And he still could face the death penalty, it’s just a question of how much we want to piss off the UK.)

Posted by: Alceste at May 28, 2004 at 12:02 pm

We’ve peed on the extradition treaty with the UK before (I once wrote a brief for an appeal in a case where the Supremes rejected our argument by saying “if we agreed with this interpretation of the treaty, we would have to reverse the convictions, which we don’t want to do.” Never addressed the (heavily footnoted) substance of the arguments at all.
That said, I bring the SOB over here, convict him fair and square, and then lock him in a cell with Jonathan Pollard.

Posted by: Rob at May 28, 2004 at 1:00 pm

In general, the idea of death penalty makes me uncomfortable, but I know if this guy gets executed, I won’t be upset.
OT: I read one of the letters to Andy Sullivan that he publishes on his blog, which complained that in the Nick Berg’s murder was referred to as an “execution”. I totally agree with the letter, I think the media keep working on giving legitimacy to thugs who fight America. I guess that way their stories look more dramatic and sell better.

Posted by: Ivan Lenin at May 28, 2004 at 1:04 pm

Two things.
1) Putting people like this in jail for life is inviting disaster. It automatically sets up the prospect of hostage situations in which they kidnap innocent civilians or soldiers, then demand his release as ransom
2) Couple of people have pointed out that we could just toss him in with the general population. The problem would, as they say, take care of itself.

Posted by: ken at May 28, 2004 at 5:06 pm

good point 1, I agree completely.
Point 2 is familiar to me from Russian history. That’s how they used to deal with traitors: just let the crowd have them, and people would tear them apart in seconds. But I don’t see it happening here, or even in Russia for that matter.

Posted by: Ivan Lenin at May 28, 2004 at 7:04 pm

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