Justice for terrorists

FBI success: Four who helped Osama bin Laden bomb embassies go to prison for rest of their lives.

October 24, 2001

SATISFACTION in the course of justice is taken from the sentencing of four disciples of Osama bin Laden to life in prison for roles in the bombing of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998.

Last week, in a lower Manhattan courtroom not far from the former World Trade Center, federal District Judge Leonard Sand also ordered each to pay $33 million in damages to victims' families and the U.S. government, expressing hope of extracting it from al-Qaida accounts.

The four were caught in an international dragnet, and convicted of conspiracy with bin Laden to kill Americans. The jury had no doubts of their guilt but was deadlocked on the death penalty for two, resulting in life without parole for all four.

This was the conspiracy for which bin Laden was indicted in the same court. He remains a fugitive. The U.S. demand for his extradition is sound on that alone, without producing evidence relating to Sept. 11 to an Islamic court in Kabul he may control.

On this investigation, international cooperation worked and the FBI achieved notable success. Thanks are due to the governments of Kenya and Tanzania.

Kenya suffered the most from those twin acts of mass terrorism, which killed 224 people, 12 of them Americans, and wounded some 4,600.

The United States has been actively pursuing bin Laden to stand trial for this crime for at least two years. The Sept. 11 terrorism was his defiant response.

Life in U.S. prisons for Mohamed Sadeek Odeh, Wadih el-Hage, Mohamed Rashed Daoud al-'Owhali and Khalfan Khamis Mohamed is a threat and promise to surviving conspirators of Sept. 11.

There are people now hiding anywhere from New Jersey to the caves of Afghanistan who may well face justice in that lower Manhattan courtroom.

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