Law Enforcement Yes. But Prosecution, No.

The efforts of law enforcement agencies the world over to aid in tracking and apprehending terrorists are a critical component in the War on Terror, and those of us on the Right who disparage the Clinton-era law-enforcement-only model of combatting terroristm shouldn’t suggest otherwise. But once apprehended, terrorists simply should not be processed through the traditional criminal justice system, in the U.S. or anywhere else. Because otherwise you get results like this one:

BALI, Indonesia — Judges sentenced an Islamic militant to eight years in prison Tuesday for harboring the alleged mastermind of last year’s homicide bombings on Indonesia’s resort island of Bali — the first verdict in the terrorist attack.


Abdul Aziz, 30, met with Southeast Asia’s most wanted terror suspect Noordin Top at least 10 times before the bombings, once allowing him to stay overnight at his school in Central Java province, said presiding judge Gede Wirya.


The defendant, wearing a green Islamic tunic, shouted “God is great!” after the ruling was read.

Eight years? Sorry, not enough. Not for 200 dead. Not nearly enough.

9 thoughts on “Law Enforcement Yes. But Prosecution, No.”

  1. I disagree, but more for the laws of unintended consequences. While we know who the terrorists are when they are arrested, there would be too many loopholes for us to establish what would be a totally separate “terrorist justice system.” Was Eric Rudolph a terrorist or simply a murderer. How about McVeigh? Is it terrorism when you kill lots of people? If so, what is the minimum number? Who decides when you go to the Terror Courts and not the Criminal Courts?
    I think too many people have been convinced that prisons are places where you can sit out a stretch of time, then get out, where they give you a better library than schools get, where you can work out in great gyms. In truth, prisons, and ALL federal pens, are pretty rotten places. We can’t speak for other countries of course. The accomplice in the Bali massacre should indeed spend more than 8 years in jail, but then, what kind of jail as well. The prisons in Scandinavia are indeed country club settings, especially as compared with here. Believe it or not, the prisons in France are really awful places.
    This war on terror is too much a “react to what they are doing” and not enough “make htem react to us.” The random bag searches in NY; the new wave of London arrests while looking for liquids, well, those are steps in the right direction, make them wonder just what WE will do to them.

  2. First of all, it was 20 dead and 200 wounded. Not that it really lessens the crime any, but we are talking about a factor of ten here…
    This guy was convicted and sent away for eight years in an Indonesian prison for basically “knowing” the mastermind of the crimes, not necessarily even participating.
    Not sure how out of whack that sentence really is, Crank…
    While I’d like to throw away the key (or worse) on any terror-related crime, you cannot go around setting up a separate justice system…Work to legislate tougher sentencing? Sure. Secret or separate courts? Not a fan.

  3. If you are talking about the bombing of the Sari Club in Kuta Beach on Bali the total killed was about 200 (it was at least 198). Indonesian court practices should not be offered as examples to strengthen United States laws. Think of the flaw in arresting former Prime Minister Suharto’s son Tommy after he had a judge executed. Tommy was not arrested for almost two years because the police stayed in their barracks. Terrorists being held in Gitmo are lucky. I remember reading Soldier of Fortune articles in which foreign mercenaries were summarily executed when caught.

  4. If you are talking about the bombing of the Sari Club in Kuta Beach on Bali…
    That’s not the bombing he is charged in. From Crank’s link:
    Twenty people were killed in near-simultaneous strikes on three crowded restaurants, and nearly 200 others wounded.

  5. Further research revealed the following article…
    From “The Australian”:
    An Indonesian computer teacher has been sentenced to just eight years’ jail for his involvement in last year’s Bali bomb attacks, despite being found guilty of posting a triumphant declaration of responsibility for the event on his website half an hour before the atrocity.
    Judges declared that Abdul Aziz’s relative youth – he turns 31 next week – and repentant attitude called for a lenient sentence, although prosecutors had demanded at least 10 years.[…]
    Of course knowing about the attack ahead of time and doing nothing to stop it is as good as helping plan it in my book. And “relative youth” of the offender is no reason for lightening a sentence. He’ll be out before he’s forty—plenty of life left to resume his activities…
    The FOX story Crank linked to is light on details (surprise!) even, it would seem, damning ones. Though somehow they came up with this little bit…
    The defendant, wearing a green Islamic tunic, shouted “God is great!” after the ruling was read.
    As opposed to the much lengthier, and presumably more reliable, Australian account…
    Aziz sat mute during his sentencing hearing in Denpasar District Court, breaking his silence only as he was being led back to his prison van to declare meekly that “God is great” – although he said it in quiet Indonesian, rather than in the jihadi’s traditionally defiant Arabic language incantation of “Allahu akbar”.
    They distort, you decide.

  6. My bad as far as being unclear on which bombing this is, but really, to my mind anybody who is involved with this stuff should be locked up permanently – not so much as a punishment as to incapacitate them from further involvement in attacks.

  7. Although I agree that eight years is too light a sentence, I don’t really see that as an argument for why these cases should not be tried in courts. That argument, valid or not, would be about the difficulties of obtaining convictions without compromising intelligence sources. If convictions can be obtained, but the sentence is insufficient, that’s just an argument for changing the law. It’s up to Indonesians to decide what the appropriate punishment is for Indonesians who bomb other Indonesians.
    Incidentally, I’ve never heard of anyone in their 30’s being cut slack in court for “relative youth”. If he was 16, maybe.

  8. …anybody who is involved with this stuff should be locked up permanently – not so much as a punishment as to incapacitate them from further involvement in attacks.
    Agreed. Especially since they are more likely to be radicalized rather than rehabilitated in prison. After doing some further reading, I’d like “revise and extend” my earlier remarks for the record….

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