TerrorismOne the 9/11 terrorist attack, the civilian

TerrorismOne of the most significant issues that the United States of America faces is terrorism. As such, the debate of where the terrorist suspect should be tried has raised substantive issues in the comparison of the counsel rights in the military tribunals and the federal court proceedings (Elsea & Library of Congress, 2009). In short, the debate revolves around the question of the suitable forum to serve the justice. The trial proceeding for a terrorist suspect in the federal court involves a process where the United States government, as well as the defense present evidence to dismiss of, proves the charge. The trials are held before a jury to determine if the prosecutors can prove beyond reasonable doubt the charges of the terrorist suspect (Elsea & Library of Congress, 2009). Overall, the trial proceeding for a terrorist suspect starts with the guilt stage where the jury opens argument gives instruction, deliberation, and presents the argument. In this case, the phase begins with the opening statement from the prosecutors. Similarly, the state presents proof via witnesses and the physical evidence for the terrorism charges. In the sentencing stage, the jury finds the terrorist suspect guilty on the counts of the charging indictment and the court imposes the sentence on the offender. Still, the suspect has the right to be available for sentencing. Following the hearing from the offender and the government, the court provides a sentence for the offender to prison. Most importantly, since the 9/11 terrorist attack, the civilian courts have convicted several terrorism charges compared to the military tribunals and commissions. The federal court adheres to high standards of evidence prior to the conviction of a suspect.The trial of Suleiman Abu Gaith in the New York resulted in the conviction of the offender on federal terrorism charges. The offender was an extremist preacher that Al-Qaeda used to spread propaganda. Abu Gaith was captured in February 2013 and the trial lasted less than a month (Denniston, 2014). The federal jury convicted the offender for the conspiracy to kill American citizens and other counts of terrorism charges. The swift conviction of the defendant in a civilian court in America was swift. Most importantly for the justice system, the trial lasted only three weeks after Abu Gaith was turned over to the US authorities. Following a six-hour deliberation, the verdict returned to hand the defendant life imprisonment on three counts. The team of prosecutors included Michael Ferrara, John P. Cronan, and Nicholas J. Lewin relied on the overwhelming evidence they had to tell the jury that Abu Gaith participated in the provision of support to terrorists and was directly involved in the conspiracy to kill American citizens (Denniston, 2014). In light of the evidence, the prosecution team cited videos the defendant made for the mastermind Bin Laden and cited an interrogation conducted by an agent for the Federal Bureau of Investigation. In short, Cronan used the testimony of the Abu Gaith against him in the closing argument. In light of the conviction of the Abu Gaith, the Department of Justice attained a significant milestone in the terrorism-related charges following the trail in a federal court. At the same time, the verdict proved that the proceedings of the magnitude could be conducted in the civilian courts. The Attorney General at the time Eric Holder applauded the jury and the judge for the normalcy of the case, appropriate handling of the law, and the lack of drama with rare exception for the nature of the terrorism trial (Denniston, 2014). In fact, the federal courts have appropriate tools to handle the trials of terrorist suspect compared to the military tribunals. In the war against terrorism, President George W. Bush issued a military order to detain the non-citizen suspects of international terrorism (Costly, 2016). More specifically, the order applied to the members of the Al Qaeda terrorist group. Under the new military order, the secretary of defense established the military tribunal to handle the terrorism cases for the non-citizens of America. The proceedings of the military tribunal differ from the federal civilian court because the military officers act as jury and judge. The commissioner vote to determine the guilt of the non-citizen accused of terrorism after a hearing and the decision does not have to be unanimous (Costly, 2016). In the military tribunal, the presiding officer from the commissioners has the authority to exclude or admit the evidence. Similarly, the defendant in the military tribunal has a guarantee of some and not all the due process protections available in the federal civilian court. The unanimous verdicts do not apply to the military tribunal and a two-thirds majority can convict the terrorist suspect. Even so, the military commission does not grant the appeal for a guilty verdict for the federal judges (Costly, 2016). However, the verdict is only final after the approval by the president. The critics of the military tribunals argue that the trial of terrorist suspects in military commission may discourage the willingness of other nations to hand over terrorist suspects for trial in the United States. In the context of the Abu Gaith case, the trial depended on the willingness of a foreign country to hand over the suspect to the government of the United States. The public presumes that the military commissions provide a tough platform in the prosecution of terrorist suspects; however, the experience since the formation of the military commissions indicate contrary outcomes to the belief. There is no guarantee that if the military tribunal had handled the Abu Gaith case, the defendant would have been sentenced to life in prison because the military commission remains uncertain and untested. In fact, the military tribunals give terrorist shorter sentences. As an illustration, the tough rhetoric of the toughness of the military commissions is never backed by evidence of convictions (Elsea & Library of Congress, 2009). For example, two out of three convicts handed by the military conviction live out of prison in their home nations. In the context of the military tribunal, the Abu Gaith case the due process for the case would not be full followed with the verdict subject to confirmation from the president. The verdict for the Abu Gaith case would be more lenient for the president to confirm the verdict or the sentence would have the sentence reduced because during the trial the defendant may refuse to testify. Under military commission trial procedure, the tribunal does not allow the accused to enter an agreement plea or negotiate (Costly, 2016). Even so, the military commission accepts coerced testimonies obtained during capture; as such, the rule would have handed Abu Gaith a tougher penalty such as execution because the tribunal still accepts hearsay evidence. The major difference between the terrorist trials in the federal court and the military tribunal is the adherence to the high standard of evidence in the civil courts, which does not apply, in the military tribunal.ReferencesCostly, Andrew. “Military Tribunals – Constitutional Rights Foundation.” Crf-Usa.Org, 2016, http://www.crf-usa.org/america-responds-to-terrorism/military-tribunals.html.Denniston, Lyle. “Constitution Check: Should Terrorism Trials Only Be Held In Military Tribunals? – National Constitution Center.” National Constitution Center – Constitutioncenter.Org, 2014, https://constitutioncenter.org/blog/constitution-check-should-terrorism-trials-only-be-held-in-military-tribuna.Elsea, J., & Library of Congress. (2009). Comparison of rights in military commission trials and trials in federal criminal court. Washington, D.C.: Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress.


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