Friday, October 30, 2009

Al-Marri's 6 year sentence is way too harsh, Just ask Eric Holder

Andrew McCarthy opines that Al Qaeda operative, Ali Saleh Kallah al-Marri's 6 year jail sentence, is way too lenient. I wholeheartedly disagree with Mr. McCarthy, and I can prove that I am correct by borrowing an argument used by Eric Holder several years ago when he was in private practice, working as a defense attorney. But first, lets examine what Mr. McCarthy has to say on the matter:
Five months ago, when al-Qaeda jihadist Ali Saleh Kallah al-Marri pleaded guilty, it was obvious that the Justice Department had given him a sweetheart deal. On Thursday, a federal judge in Illinois dutifully finished the job. Al-Marri, a committed sleeper operative sent by our enemies to carry out a post-9/11 second wave of mass-murder attacks inside the United States, was given an appalling sentence: He’ll be eligible for release in about six years.

When al-Marri entered his plea back in May, Attorney General Eric Holder crowed that the case demonstrated the criminal-justice system’s capacity to confront and quell international terrorism. As I
observed at the time, though, the plea bargain was a travesty...

In stark departure from prior Justice Department practice, Holder permitted al-Marri to plead guilty to providing material support for terrorism. The material-support offense is generally reserved for non-terrorist sympathizers who facilitate the jihad but are unlikely to carry out atrocities themselves. It is a significantly less serious charge than the crimes — the acts of war — that Marri had actually committed, such as full-fledged membership in the al-Qaeda conspiracy to kill Americans, as well as conspiracies to use weapons of mass destruction.

Because of Holder’s abandonment of past DOJ practice, al-Marri was looking at a maximum sentence of 15 years.... [The presiding judge] pronounced a sentence of a mere eight years... With various credits for good behavior and other reductions, al-Marri could be released, in the United States, in six years or so. And he’s got plenty of jihad left in him.

Many Justice Department lawyers, including Attorney General Holder, come from firms and institutions that spent the last eight years as defense counsel for terrorists. Should we be surprised that, even compared with the “terrorism is just a crime” era of the 1990s, terrorists have never had it so good?
However, while Andrew McCarthy may may have a valid point, I believe that al-Marri actually received a harsh sentence, according to Eric Holder's mind-boggling logic and his intentionally twisted interpretation of the law.

As I've mentioned previously on this blog, Eric Holder, was the leader attorney representing Chiquita International Brands against charges [filed by the US Justice Dept.] that it funneled $1.7 million in protection money to the AUC - a Colombian terrorist organization [and deemed as such by the US State Dept.] responsible for kidnapping and murdering thousands of Colombians and Americans alike - Eric Holder managed to arrange a sweetheart deal in which Chiquita only paid a $25 million fine over five years. Not one of the six company officials who approved the payments received any jail time.

As Sean Hannity noted several months ago:
"What is raising the most eyebrows is the argument that Holder made as lead attorney in the ongoing civil case against Chiquita. According to court documents Holder wanted the case dismissed, because, quote: 'There is no clearly defined rule of international law prohibiting material support of terrorism. Indeed, there is not even consensus on the definition of terrorism'."
Hence, if we were to follow Mr. Holder's line of reasoning, al-Marri shouldn't have received any jail time at all. While it's true that Al-Marri was indeed a full-fledged member of al-Qaeda, who conspired to kill Americans, nevertheless, Eric Holder allowed al-Marri to plead guilty to merely providing material support for terrorism.

Hence, since, as Eric Holder so eloquently opined when he defended Chiquita International, "there is no clearly defined rule of international law prohibiting material support of terrorism" and "there is not even consensus on the definition of terrorism," al-Marri should have gotten off with a mere fine. But instead, the hapless terrorist has been sentenced to sit in jail for 6 years, which is not only totally unfair, it is also a travesty of justice. And undoubtedly Eric Holder shares this sentiment.

And as such Mr. McCarthy, I beg to differ with you and your line of reasoning. Al Marri shouldn't be going to jail at all, he should be a free man.


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