Editorial: From Boston to Guantanamo? No

He may have been an enemy combatant, but there is, as yet, no evidence they were connected to al-Qa’ida or any other foreign terrorist organisation

Share

The speed with which US federal prosecutors have filed charges against the surviving suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings is especially welcome in that it has laid to rest suggestions that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev be transferred to the military as an “enemy combatant” and perhaps even tried before a military tribunal rather than a civilian court.

Mr Tsarnaev is a US citizen. He was captured and arrested by the FBI. He may have been an enemy combatant in the sense that he and his brother were intent on striking a bloody blow against America. But there is, as yet, no evidence they were connected to al-Qa’ida or any other foreign terrorist organisation – the required condition for Tsarnaev to be held by the military, perhaps extra-territorially at the infamous prison for suspected foreign terrorists at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.

In this context, the appalling state of affairs at Guantanamo – where at least 50 of the 166 detainees are on hunger strike, and where half have been cleared for release but are left to rot nonetheless – is not the relevant factor. Even in its intended role as a forum for military justice, the prison has failed: during its 11-year life, only three inmates have been tried and convicted – and the architect of the 9/11 plot, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, is not among them.

By contrast, the civil courts – where President Obama sought to have Mohammed tried, only to be thwarted by Congress – have dealt competently with several high-profile cases. These include John Walker Lindh, the “American Taliban” captured in Afghanistan in 2001, the “shoe bomber” Richard Reid, and Zacarias Moussaoui, a would-be terrorist with certain links to al-Qa’ida.

There is no reason why Tsarnaev should not be questioned by military and CIA interrogators for intelligence purposes while he awaits trial. But he is an American, accused of committing a heinous crime against his fellow citizens, and a normal court of criminal justice is where he should be tried.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Metail Ltd: Business Development Manager for Asia Pacific

£35,000 - £40,000 based on experience : Metail Ltd: As a Business Development ...

Guru Careers: Product Manager / Product Owner

£30 - 40k (DOE) + Bonus & Benefits: Guru Careers: A Product Manager / Product ...

Recruitment Genius: Car Sales Executive - £17,000 Basic, OTE Uncapped

£17000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Company are looking for a S...

Recruitment Genius: 1st / 2nd Line Technical Analyst

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A 1st / 2nd Line Technical Anal...

Day In a Page

Read Next
The memorial to the 7/7 bombing victims  

After the London bombings on July 7 I was dubbed a 'British Muslim' for the first time - suddenly my religious identity took centre stage

Sabbiyah Pervez
 

Budget 2015: George Osborne should earn his reputation for courage by abolishing free TV licences for the over 75s

Christopher Bland
Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

Greece referendum

Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

7/7 bombings anniversary

Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?
Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has created

Versace haute couture review

Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has ever created
No hope and no jobs, so Gaza's young risk their lives, climb the fence and run for it

No hope and no jobs in Gaza

So the young risk their lives and run for it
Fashion apps: Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers

Fashion apps

Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers
The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate