The Reality of Civilian Trials for Terrorists

December 02, 2010  |  Posted by Daniel Pollitt

One thing you can always count on is the right-wing having a rabid reaction to the the use of civilian trials for terrorists. Without hesitation, they vehemently insist civilian trials for terrorists are security risks, cost taxpayers ton's of money, and do not produce successful results. Instead, they demand military commissions for all terrorists, where convictions are guaranteed and "real justice" is exacted. Never mind the fact that only five cases in the military commission system at Guantanamo Bay have resulted in a conviction. As this chart from the New York University Center on Law and Security demonstrates, civilian trials are overwhelmingly successful:



While charts like this one are helpful in offering a clear illustration of the effectiveness of civilian trials for terrorists, one only needs to point to the recent terrorist trial of Ahmed Ghailani to see proof that they work. The Ghailani trial was safe, cost-effective and resulted in his conviction, for which he will serve a minimum of 20 years with the potential of a life sentence. After his sentencing, he most likely will be transferred to serve out his punishment in solitary confinement at a federal super max prison.

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