Tuesday, November 22, 2005
Assassination Suspect Convicted.
A young man, who is a U.S. citizen, was convicted today of being a member of Al-Qaida, and having plotted to assassinate President Bush. Yahoo News AP Wire excerpt:
ALEXANDRIA, Va. - An American Muslim student was convicted Tuesday of joining al-Qaida and plotting to assassinate President Bush.
The federal jury rejected Ahmed Omar Abu Ali's claim that Saudi authorities whipped and tortured him to extract a false confession. Abu Ali, a 24-year-old U.S. citizen born to a Jordanian father and raised in Falls Church, Va., could get life in prison on charges that included conspiracy to assassinate the president, conspiracy to hijack aircraft and providing support to al-Qaida.
The jury deliberated for 2 1/2 days. Abu Ali swallowed hard before the verdict was read but otherwise showed little emotion. He did not testify at his trial. "Obviously the jury has spoken, but the fight is not over," defense attorney Khurrum Wahid said. "We intend to use the justice system to prove our client's innocence."
Abu Ali told authorities shortly after his arrest at a Medina, Saudi Arabia, university in June 2003 that he joined al-Qaida and discussed various terrorist plots, including a plan to personally assassinate Bush and to establish himself as a leader of an al-Qaida cell in the United States. But the defense countered that he was tortured by the Saudi security force known as the Mubahith.
This is a tough one. Was Ali's confession coerced through torture? Is this kid really a killer? The possibility of torture is the wild card here. Can anyone be certain that a legitimate plot was foiled? Or was this a case of someone who said what he believed his captors wanted to hear to stop the pain? The element of doubt that exists in this case makes it far from clear that justice was delivered. If the depraved behavior of our own soldiers at Abu Ghraib is an indicator, what can we say about the tactics that the Mubahith may have employed against Ali?