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shpadoinkle_sue's avatar

Do you think that foreign terrorists should be given fair trials on U.S. soil?

Asked by shpadoinkle_sue (7188points) February 24th, 2010

I want to state this right off. PLEASE no answers that involve violence or mal-intent. It is a question of constitutional rights. Should they be allowed a fair trial? Should they be deported or put in detention? As they are not legal citizens, should they’re rights be observed? and how? I know these are more questions, but it is a big issue. I’m curious how people would answer this question if it was put to them.

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66 Answers

TheJoker's avatar

I think people should be put on trial wherever they commited the offense, whether it be terrorism or any other… Just because someone isn’t a citizen of a particular country doesn’t mean they give up their human rights when entering that country.

frigate1985's avatar

Yes but not in US cuz they might commit suicidal terror when they arrive.

thriftymaid's avatar

I think they should be given fair trials in a military forum.

susanc's avatar

I don’t think they can be tried as enemy combatants when we haven’t declared war. George Bush’s “war on terror” was a linguistic construct, a slogan, not an actual war.

Not his fault. 9/11 put him in a predicament because “war” has meant nation versus nation since our country was founded. This is something else.
So I think we’re stuck with American civil justice. People who break our laws get tried under the laws of the land. Shoplifting at the bottom end, blowing up buildings at the top. This means we have to pay for trials, sentencing, imprisonment, maintenance – so be it.

@frigate: Criminals are in custody on their way to trial. Where are they going to get the instruments of “suicidal terror” as they enter the country?

jrpowell's avatar

“Yes but not in US cuz they might commit suicidal terror when they arrive.”

So after they are in custody they will make a bomb that will blow up a city? Brilliant. We managed to keep Timothy McVeigh from blowing shit up while in custody. We know how to keep people in jail.

mattbrowne's avatar

Foreign terrorists are given fair trials on German soil, so I see no reason why this should work on US soil. Here’s a recent example:

On Monday February 22, 2010 German police have arrested three people suspected of helping a radical Islamist group whose followers have confessed to planning attacks on U.S. targets in Germany, prosecutors said on Monday.

The federal prosecutor’s office said it suspected two men whom it identified only as Alican T. and Fatih K., and one woman, Filiz G., of supporting the Islamic Jihad Union (IJU), a group often linked to a militant Islamist movement that originated in Uzbekistan.

“They are accused of aiding the terrorist group financially,” said Marcus Koehler, a spokesman for the prosecution, adding that the charges involved the transfer of several thousand euros to accounts in Turkey late last year.

There have been many trials already and there are more to come in the future.

augustlan's avatar

I do. They are not war criminals, they should be tried in standard courts.

lilikoi's avatar

If a person is to be tried in the U.S., they should be tried as any other person in the U.S. would be. I think “when in Rome” applies here. To do anything else would be hypocritical.

frigate1985's avatar

@susanc oh I don’t know maybe by corrupted officers, etc. Anyways the point is that they should be given a trial.
maybe they can hide small c4 pellets under their flesh!!

Scooby's avatar

Yes they should be given fair trials, their human rights should always be observed, if not the west runs the risk of becoming as much of a terrorizer as the terrorist himself ! :-/ IMO, then lock them up for the rest of their lives, a fitting enough conclusion for someone who most likely was prepared to end their life to achieve their terrorist goals in the first place…..

Nullo's avatar

Naw. Quarter them on the spot.~
More seriously, I think that the military should get jurisdiction here. War is when nations fight. Terrorism is when small groups and nations fight. A half-war, you might say.
A greater concern is that somebody else will use the distraction to blow something up.
Lock ‘em up with a hardened TV that plays Dora the Explorer on a loop.

Scooby's avatar


Yep!! That’d do it ;-) Lol…..

Kelci33's avatar

Nooo way. Why does someone who hates our country and is trying to destroy it, desirve a “fair chance” in the country they hate?

Cruiser's avatar

No f’n way!! The second they touch US Soil they are afforded Miranda rights, a comfy cell and a fancy lawyer who tells them to shut up and not say anything. We need intel from these scumbags to help catch the next creep who is gunning to draw American blood. Keep em all at Gitmo!!

thriftymaid's avatar

@Cruiser I’m with you here.

cookieman's avatar

Yes – we should practice what we preach.

Ideally, I wish there were a “World Court” that would convene somewhere nuetral (Geneva?). Each country in the U.N. elects/assigns a justice to represent them. They are placed in a pool and called upon twelve-at-a-time to preside over cases of international terrorism and other non-wartime world crimes. There’s have to be some kind of U.N. review board to decide what cases get heard by them.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

They should be tried in the country where they are captured, or extradited to the nation where the crime was committed. Just as in all other crimes.

filmfann's avatar

I think the Constitution and the Bill of Rights are Human Rights, not just American Rights.
So, yes, foreign terrorists should be treated fairly, and have a right to trial.

Dr_Dredd's avatar

@Nullo Or Barney! I heard they did that to some of the battlefield captives in Afghanistan.

stump's avatar

They should be given the same access to due process as anyone. If an illegal alien commits a non-terrorist crime, they are processed through the civil legal system like anyone else. I don’t understand why US citizens are so full of fear and have so little faith in their own system. They don’t seem to have any confidence in their ability to deal with terrorists without trashing every value the country was founded on. My biggest concern about indefinate detention and military tribunals is the poor innocent guy who gets picked up because his name is similar to someone on a watch list. It happens all the time. My brother gets hassled every time he flies because of it. The US legal system was build in part on the idea that it is better for ten guilty people to go free than one innocent person to be convicted. But now it seems Americans would rather ten innocent people get convicted than one guilty person go free.

IchtheosaurusRex's avatar

Richard Reid (the Shoe Bomber) was given Miranda rights and a U.S. trial. He was convicted. In fact, the circumstances of his case are virtually identical to those of the Underwear Bomber, save that Reid was a U.S. citizen.

Can anyone cite an example of a terrorist who’s been tried in a U.S. court and got off because of a technicality?

wundayatta's avatar

I’m a little confused by the term “foreign terrorists.” Does this mean terrorists who commit crimes in other countries? Does this mean American terrorists who commit crimes in foreign countries? Or does it mean foreigners who commit acts of terrorism in the US?

In case 1) I think they should be tried in the country they committed the crime in.
In case 2) I think you could extradite them to the US, but only if they had also committed crimes here. Extradition would probably occur after the American had been tried over there.
In case 3) Of course they should be tried here. If some other country also wanted to try them, they could apply for extradition, and if we grant it, they could then try the criminal at home.

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

I think they should be subject to US law like everyone else is. No special exceptions to the law just because people are pissed off.

Judi's avatar

I believe in our justice system. I guess I am just patriotic that way.

stump's avatar

@ChazMaz Is it fair trials you object to, or US soil?

CMaz's avatar

It is giving them the same legal rights as citizens.

After all it is war. Take it or leave it.

TheJoker's avatar

@ChazMaz So I take it you classify terrorists the same as foreign troops, & therefore would be covered by the Human Rights Convention guaranteeing fair treatment & trial according to military law?

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

I understand the outrage against terrorism. I dot understand the problem with trying them on American soil. It isn’t like we’re giving them bail and setting them loose on the streets.

We’re detaining them and not giving them cell phones so unless terrorist biology allows them to explode at will, detaining them I America is safe.

Gitmo is an affront to everything the US is supposed to stand for.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

I think that all terrorists should be given fair trials. And then executed.

I’m hopeful that a few jellies will spot the irony.

stump's avatar

I don’t care if terrorists get fair trials. I want the poor innocent guy who everyone thinks is a terrorist to get one.

Nullo's avatar

No, the Underwear Bomber is infinitely funnier. :D

@Captain_Fantasy I understand that Gitmo is preeeety comfy.

YARNLADY's avatar

I think they should be tried in the country where they committed the crime.

IchtheosaurusRex's avatar

@ChazMan, the Geneva Conventions afford certain rights to prisoners of war that were not applied at Gitmo. You can’t put terrorists in the same category as uniformed soldiers of a foreign power. They’re the lowest form of human scum. The U.S. courts deal with scum every working day of the year. They can handle it.

CMaz's avatar

“The U.S. courts deal with scum every working day of the year.”

They have a hard enough time “handling it” by following our “rights.”

You are right, “They’re the lowest form of human scum.” and, should have been executed after interrogation.

IchtheosaurusRex's avatar

@ChazMaz , you look at high profile cases like O.J. Simpson and think that people who do bad shit get off all the time. But that simply isn’t the case. People who actually end up being tried in a courtroom are convicted at a rate that’s so lopsided it might as well be 100%. What happens in our justice system is too many scumbags getting off because their lawyers and prosecutors dicker their cases down to nothing to avoid the cost of a trial. There is no way that kind of thing is going to happen for a terrorism case. Khalid Sheik Mohammad is going to be convicted and executed. Bet money on it.

If we do not follow some basic legal principles in how we handle people accused of crimes, even the most heinous crimes, then we’re no better than the Iranians.

CMaz's avatar

“There is no way that kind of thing is going to happen for a terrorism case.”
Knock yourself out for believing that. Go for it.

SO it might not dicker down to probation. But, the years it could take for an outcome. And, the possibility that they get life in prison. Or years on death row is too much deserving for such individuals.

Besides the cost to go through the process is better spent on citizens of this country.

stump's avatar

Is it impossible for anyone to believe that someone might be wrongly accused?

IchtheosaurusRex's avatar

@ChazMaz , the point here is that we can’t abandon our legal and moral principles just because we hate these people, unless you want to go back to stone knives and bearskins. You should read John Locke sometime.

I’m also very confident in what I believe. Don’t fucking insult me with “Knock yourself out,” OK? If you have some proof that terrorists are being plea-bargained out, or that they’re getting off on technicalities, show me the money. Otherwise, go brew yourself a cup of tea and have a nice day.

CMaz's avatar

“we can’t abandon our legal and moral principles”

We are talking about war and terrorism. Not your neighbors dog taking a dump in your front yard.

And to an extent they are being “plea-bargained out.” or we would not be wasting our time and money on them. You want to give them a fair trial in the states? part of the process is potential “plea-bargaining.” Otherwise you are just playing. And that is all it is, a game to pacify the pacifist.

And don’t get so sensitive. It makes for weak debating.

Ramzi Yousef, you may recall, was the mastermind of the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993 who is now serving a life sentence in a supermax prison in Colorado.

THAT is a plea bargan.

stump's avatar

@ChazMaz Yes, we are talking about war and terrorism, but it is only in extreme cases that your values are tested. And if you can’t stick to them, then you don’t really hold them.
I am glad that Ramzi Yousef is in prison for the rest of his life. I cases involving jihadists, life in prison is a worse fate than death in their eyes because it denies them the opportunity for martyrdom.
We (the whole world) are working out the ground rules of this new kind of war. If we don’t hold on to our most central core values, we will sink to be bottom. And if we do that, there will be nothing left worth protecting.

CMaz's avatar

“And if you can’t stick to them, then you don’t really hold them. ”
And people have to die for freedom and safety.

“I cases involving jihadists, life in prison is a worse fate than death in their eyes because it denies them the opportunity for martyrdom.”

That is an attitude that appeases their belief system. Not mine. I could care less what they think or believe. They are a drain on MY system.

“If we don’t hold on to our most central core values, we will sink to be bottom.”
Those core values are what kept use a free country. That process included/s killing a few bad people. It is how we got to where we are. With those “core values.”

I understand your point. There should be civility were and whenever possible. But, lets not play word games here. Some people just need to be put down.
It is the law of the jungle, it is life. And a dream for a utopian society is just a dream. But dream away we all do. Including me. :-)

stump's avatar

I have no problem with people giving their lives for freedom. But I don’t follow the argument that therefore people must be killed for freedom. And if you think killing the right people will make you safe, you are nuts. Safety and security are an illusion created to control people the same way religion does. It is being used to justify genocide the same way God is used.

I get that you don’t care about the jihadist belief system, but martyrdom makes them heros to the other jihadists. That makes them stronger, and should be considered.

“Killing a few bad people” is justice. Justice is the core value, not killing. And killing a few innocent people along the way destroys justice.

Who decides what people “need to be put down”? I would like to know who is deciding that and how. If we allow secret trials with no appeal, due process, or oversight then you could be put on someone’s list and be put down. I don’t want to give an unknown person the power to kill anyone they want without question. That would be worse than the terrorist problems.

CMaz's avatar

“But I don’t follow the argument that therefore people must be killed for freedom.”

Sorry to get you out of your closet. But, that is how Freedom in a global sense is and has always been acquired.
You are just so use to it to. Enjoying the freedom from others blood and sacrifice.

Go live in a country where children walk to school through blown apart neighborhoods.
Dodging bullets, rape and limbs being cut off. It not uncommon having family members or entire families killed off. Right down the street from where they live.

This is how the real world is.

We sit in our air-conditioned home playing with the xbox. Texting our friends and hanging at the mall. Wining because we do not make enough money to go on a trip to Florida. While we stuff our faces with McDonalds.

But it is all ok. I do love that Freedom.

I will not kid myself that is was acquired any other way. Or can be.

stump's avatar

Martin Luther King Jr. never killed anyone. Gandi never killed anyone. There are ways to throw off chains that don’t require killing. As Gandi said, there are causes for which I would die, but none for which I would kill.

That was only one of my arguments. I hope you are working on the others.

CMaz's avatar

“Martin Luther King Jr. never killed anyone. Gandhi never killed anyone.”
No they just got killed. Sometimes being a martyr is a good thing too.

We should always stride for peace. I get that. But, you cant know peace without war. As that saying goes.

And plenty of people have died in history so Gandhi could avoid killing. More power to him and people like him. No one wants to kill or be killed, but it is a necessary evil of life.

You drive a car to work, it pollutes. So why not stop driving. You are causing pollution, you are killing people. Why do you drive? Because your survival is more important.

Story of life.

stump's avatar

For some reason I didn’t see your whole last entry.
I know war exists and that life in war-torn countries sucks, but are you really saying that the only way I can enjoy going to McDonalds when I want is if the military kills a certain number of foreigners each year. If I thought that was true, I couldn’t take another bite.
I couldn’t figure out why Gandi looked wrong

CMaz's avatar

“only way I can enjoy going to McDonalds when I want is if the military kills a certain number of foreigners”

Every bite you take, and the freedom that comes with it. A price was paid.
You know exactly what that means.

So yes. Not necessarily ever year. But plenty did and do, good and bad. And, will continue, so you can eat a Big Mac.

Is this really a mystery to you? How do you think we got to where we are today. And how do you think we stay in this way of living that we all have become accustom to?

Billions of dollars go into air craft carriers, tanks, jets, bombs, guns and training the personnel to use them. To do what with? To kill people that want to take away that freedom we wallow in.

I do not see the need to waist any more of that money to “prove” anything to anyone. Except to say, “don’t fuck with us.”

If that mean whacking a few terrorists. So be it.

IchtheosaurusRex's avatar

@ChazMaz , so life without parole in a supermax is a plea bargain? Trust me, that son of a bitch would have been much happier getting the needle so he could go get his 72 virgins.

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with my debating skills. Somebody dissing me like that isn’t debating, it’s fighting, and I fight back.

CMaz's avatar

@IchtheosaurusRex – You are missing the point. That cost money. Tax payer dollars.

Wasted on someone that is not worth the soil their body will eventually be tossed in.
I could give a crap about what they would like or prefer.
I just think that sort of nonsense needs to be washed off the shoe of society.

Let the money that has to go to care for a prison inmate go to an American that did a bad thing.
Though some of them should not have that privilege either. But that is another post. ;-)

“Somebody dissing me like that isn’t debating, its fighting”

You being “dissed” or seeing it that way is insecurity. Insecurity will cause you to loose the debate, it becoming a distraction.
Think of debating like playing poker. Showing your weakness is not a good thing.

For the record. You were not dissed. I was just focusing on what your intention was, to help clarify my intention.
Basically I used your weakness against you. See how it works. ;-)

“it’s fighting, and I fight back.”

It is never personal. Passion but not personal. Don’t ever take it that way. You say some good things. Believe me, I do learn from what you say.
That goes for everyone. :-)

IchtheosaurusRex's avatar

@ChazMaz , it didn’t divert me from the points I wanted to make, I just like to bare my teeth once in a while.

I sort of agree with you on the argument that we shouldn’t be spending money keeping this piece of crap locked up. But I would extend that argument to most of the violent scum we’ve already got serving long prison terms. I could digress into a number of views I have on that problem, but it wouldn’t be helpful to this discussion.

PacificRimjob's avatar

Giving terrorists the rights of a nation they hate and are warring against is pure insanity.

IchtheosaurusRex's avatar

@PacificRimjob , what do you do about domestic terrorists like McVeigh, then?

PacificRimjob's avatar

Citizen terrorists are given their rights. Not too complicated.

stump's avatar

@PacificRimjob The point of a trial is to determine if someone is innocent or not. To assume the accused is a terrorist is to condemn innocent people without a trial. Would it bother you if innocent people were convicted by our government without access to the due process of law?

rooeytoo's avatar

It concerns me more that those who mean harm to my country and my comrades would get off with a smack on the hand.

IchtheosaurusRex's avatar

@PacificRimjob ,foreign nationals on U.S. soil are usually afforded the same rights as U.S. citizens when they’re accused of crimes other than entering the country illegally. For example, if an illegal alien robs a liquor store, they don’t just ship him back to where he came from. He gets accused and tried in a U.S. court, and if he’s convicted, he does time in a U.S. slammer before he’s deported.

CMaz's avatar

“and if he’s convicted, he does time in a U.S. slammer before he’s deported.”

And, that is just bullshit! I say hack off a hand and send him home.

PacificRimjob's avatar

These people have made it claer they have no intention of playing by the rules.

Why should we?

Dr_Dredd's avatar

@PacificRimjob Because we actually respect the rule of law, and can demonstrate that to the rest of the world.

PacificRimjob's avatar

There is no lawful obligation to grant these scum American protections.

They also know very well that our adherence to the rule of law makes us an easy target.

We’re at war, pick a side.

susanc's avatar

@PacificRimjob – Afraid there IS a lawful obligation to grant these scum American protections. One of the reasons people have immigrated to the U.S. for 200 years is
that they’re protected by the law of the land from some of the more heinous crimes
perpetrated against the defenseless in less-evolved legal systems.

How about this?
Mandatory life imprisonment for anyone legally convicted of perpetrating terrorism-inspired death to any American citizen. Life imprisonment carried out in a savage, U.S.-friendly country – not on U.S. soil, no oversight by U.S. or Red Cross inspectors. Guarantee of being kept alive under ghastly conditions till natural death occurs. No virgins.

PacificRimjob's avatar

If 9/11 was an attempt at immigration it was a rather poorly executed one.

A dishonorable execution is the only way to be sure they won’t influence another to do it again.

Exception: Martyrdom.

malevolentbutticklish's avatar

They shouldn’t be brought into the US and… they SHOULD NOT be given fair trials. Consider if we captured two people in Somalia and we knew one of them was guilty and one was innocent. The only fair thing to do is to free them both since we don’t know which one is guilty. This is not a good strategy against terrorists. We should keep them both violating the rights of a primitive non-citizen rather than release a terrorist endangering Americans and Europeans.

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