Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Another Terrorist Tale

Guest Post written by Greg, a PYY regular.

An interesting anti-terrorist trial just finished up. The defendants: at least four men of Arab descent living in a large city, and belonging to a terrorist cell that sent men to Iraq to kill Americans.

The two ring leaders recruited young men with the same objective, according to the prosecutor: making jihad against the Americans in Iraq. They got 8 years in prison, 2/3 of it guaranteed.

One of the men – Mohammen El Ayouni – who managed to reach Iraq and fight against the Marines in Fallouja, lost an eye and an arm there. He claimed to have saved a woman and her children from a bombed house, though, as the prosecutor noted, the house never would have been bombed were it not for the presence of “terrorists” like Ayouni. He got four years in prison.

Two other men were arrested just before their departure for Iraq. Their sentence is three years in prison.

Ayouni’s defense lawyer claimed that these were “above all else, a group of friends who empathized with people who were suffering in a country where American military intervention has killed thousands of civilians.” The defendants claimed without proof that they were tortured while in custody.

The prosecutor, for his part, said there was no doubt about the defendant’s “terrorist motivations” and stressed that “claiming that the American military intervention in Iraq was illegal does not suffice to excuse these men, who adherence to a group that resorted to suicide bombings is incompatible with fundamental international human rights law.”

Prison sentences for men who had not actually picked up weapon. Claims by the defendants of torture and arbitrary detention. Claims by terrorists that they are simple humanitarians. Sounds like a typical trial in the context of the “war on terror.” Except that this trial didn’t take place in New York or Miami or Chicago. It took place in Paris.

(French Text: Here)


LASunsett said...

Thanks for bringing this to our attention, Greg.

I find it interesting that very few English publications carried this story. The story that you sent as your source was in French, so naturally, many that read PYY will not be able to read it. However, after combing the internet, I did find the one article in English (which is linked). I couldn't even find it in the IHT, which is based in France.

LASunsett said...

Let me clarify.

There was one article (the one I linked to) written by the AP. It was carried by several outlets across the country. But the rest of the media has largely ignored it. Fox hasn't even covered it. If I had to wager a guess, it wasn't covered very well in the European media either. If it was, my guess is it was buried in the back pages.

(Maybe those from Europe that read this blog can shed some light on this.)

Obob said...

I didn't hear anythong of this. Not to be cynical, but it doesn't shock me. I wonder if crimonals like these are released into the general population. Then I wonder if Darwin would take his course

Greg said...

LAS, thank you for finding the English-language article. It is much better than the French article I had. It is particularly interesting that these little terrorists were specifically motivated by the Abu Ghraib "torture" (terrorist's words) scandal - the most overblown and manipulated story of all time. No one is ever moved by Americans' universal reponse to Abu Ghraib, including the harsh punishment dealt out to the perpetrators. Instead, in typical anti-American fashion, they focus on the disgusting behavior of a few soldiers and exptrapolate it to the entire military - or worse - to the entire country. And so, here's an example of what anti-American news coverage, 24/7, can do - it can actually create terrorists.

I would also note that many of the prison sentences for the Abu Ghraib defendants were harsher than the punishments doled out in this Parisian case for unreprentant murderers! Charles Graner got 10 years in federal prison; Ivan Fredrick got 8 years; Lyndie England got 3 years; etc.

Greg said...

If I had to wager a guess, it wasn't covered very well in the European media either. If it was, my guess is it was buried in the back pages.

(Maybe those from Europe that read this blog can shed some light on this.)

LAS, I can tell you this was widely covered in the French press, but I can't say anything about other countries.