Ahmed Abu Khattala, the suspected mastermind behind the consulate attack in Benghazi, Libya, is in U.S. law enforcement custody and will face a judge today, June 28, 2014, in FEDERAL court in Washington D.C.
I don't know what the state of evidence is, and I have no opinions on the suspect's guilt or innocence. But as a criminal defense attorney who took an oath to the US Constitution, I salute the decision to try him on National soil, in a public forum, open to the Media, and subject to a JURY decision. Not because Ahmed Abu Khattala is important or unimportant. Nor because what he has allegedly done is significant or insignificant.
But because we are a nation of laws. We are a nation founded upon the right to a fair trial and a nation that is founded upon the basic notion that an accused must face his accuser.
The extra judicial killings taken up by our government, i.e.: the drones, Osama B.L. and other terrorists killed off the US soil, are a poison to our system. [An extrajudicial killing is the killing of a person by governmental authorities without the sanction of any judicial proceeding or legal process. Extrajudicial punishments are by their nature unlawful, since they bypass the due process of the legal jurisdiction in which they occur. Wikipedia]
And when we as citizens remain quiet when our government abrogates the legal system, and steps outside of the Constitution to effectuate "justice", we become exactly what our enemies ARE. We become terrorists. When we, as citizens, do not decry the suspension of the Habeas Corpus, or when we are not horrified when the constitutional rights of our prisoners are violated, we become co-conspirators in the violation of the Constitution.
This is not an ideological or philosophical or dogmatic discussion. This is a real and palpable shift in the basic fabric of our Republic. And unless we stop being so lackadaisical, we will cease to be the nation that we have been for so long, the land of the brave and the home of the free.
The test of whether one is a true American patriot is not how much one HATES the enemy, but rather how much American justice one affords the enemy, on American soil and in Public courts, and how much respect one gives the Constitution above and beyond one's hatred of the enemy.
Criminal Defense Alaleh Kamran
Alaleh Kamran, Attorney at Law
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