RealNews

Papers: Tribunal Idea Raised on Moussaoui

On the eve of unprecedented appellate arguments on the rights of terrorism defendants, a newly released document shows a judge sharply questioned whether Zacarias Moussaoui should be prosecuted in a civilian court. A panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va., was to hear oral arguments Tuesday on whether Moussaoui should be allowed to question senior al-Qaida leader Ramzi Binalshibh through a video hookup. U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema, based in Alexandria, Va., gave Moussaoui that right in January, ruling that even terrorism defendants had a constitutional right to information that might exonerate them, or save their lives if a capital case reached the penalty phase. She explained her decision in a March ruling, which she released Monday after considerable deletions to protect national security. The government’s appeal resulted in Tuesday’s hearing. Prosecutors argued in written pleadings that national security should trump a defendant’s rights in terrorism cases, with al-Qaida prisoners off-limits to criminal defendants like Moussaoui. Full Story

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