Yesterday’s Helsinki Sanomat (HS 3.3.07) published an article about a German Kurd, Murat Kurnaz, who is prisoner at Guantanamo Bay’s detention center in Cuba. Taking issue with the US justification for keeping these prisoners incarcerated at Gitmo, HS journalist, Anu Silfverberg writes:
“In five years, terrorists have become this century’s pedophile; an enemy by all, so dangerous for whom even traditional justice will not suffice.”
Please excuse me while I laugh out loud. What makes her article amusing is her apparent ignorance of international law, and the Geneva Conventions, while also undercutting her own argument (somewhat) over the “injustices served” to the jihadis spending time in Gitmo. Silfverberg criticizes US policy of holding indefinitely jihadists captured on and off the battlefield, but then admits that the US has been trying since 2002 to repatriate Murat Kurnaz back to Germany (a case of trying to weed the bad from the real bad).
The German government isn’t in any hurry to repatriate a German Muslim religious student who traveled to Pakistan (a hot bed of terrorist activity) during the time the Taliban ruled Afghanistan, and who ended up purchasing a complete set of combat fatigues with matching boots and a pair of binoculars.
He might not be as bad as the rest held in Gitmo, but who is to say his intentions weren’t as evil? Is Murat Kurnaz just a misunderstood “victim of circumstance”, caught in the wrong place at the wrong time? Possibly, but I’ll feel better after he’s been tried in a military court, if they let him go, then fine.
While Silfverberg may deride the US for holding these terrorists for four years, at least some or all will be facing justice inside a military court. Granting them POW status would keep them locked up as prisoners for the duration of the war, and as far as I can tell, the War on Islamist Extremism is far from being over.
Silfverberg states that she interviewed three Brits that were released from Gitmo, and claims that their stay on the island paradise turned them into religious “firebrands” (who’s to say they weren’t before they were captured) but also admits to entertaining some doubts as to their innocence. But after talking to some nameless lawyer who tells her: “guilty or not, this shouldn’t be allowed”, her fears are relieved. In closing, she notes someone’s reservations over her “distraught concerns” for the jihadis formerly or presently at Gitmo:
“why would a young female reporter want to defend foreign men that want to force you into the “hijab” and seal you and your fellow females at home?” “DO they want to I thought, perhaps, but I’d have to say that the desire to dress a female reporter in a hijab feels more justified, than to lock up a person for the rest of his life.”