Washington: Republican Congressmen have demanded that Nigerian terror suspect Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who was on Wednesday charged for a failed al Qaeda attempt to blow up an American plane be treated as terrorist and not a common criminal.
The demand from Republican Congressmen came after a federal grand jury indicted Abdulmutallab on six charges arising from his attempt to blow up an air-plane bound for Detroit, Michigan.
"We have learned the hard way that trying terrorists in federal court comes at a high price, from losing out on potentially life-saving intelligence to compromising our sources and methods," Senator Kit Bond, Vice Chairman, of the Senate Intelligence Committee said in a statement.
We must treat these terrorists as what they are Not common criminals, but enemy combatants in a war, Bond said.
However, the Obama administration did not appear to have agreed with Bond’s argument.
"If you look at the quite similar parallel cases between Abdulmutallab and (the shoe bomber) Richard Reid, obviously spaced some years apart, but each trying to do harm to a transatlantic flight using similar chemicals, decisions were made by the previous administration after looking at all of the factors involved to enter Richard Reid into our civil justice system," the White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said.
"In our view Abdulmutallab should be designated as an unprivileged enemy belligerent and detained and prosecuted consistent with laws of armed conflict not the criminal justice system," wrote five senior Republican Congressmen in a letter to the US President Barack Obama.
The Congressmen are Howard McKeon, Jerry Lewis, Pete Hoekstra, Pete King and Lamar Smith.
"In the war on terrorism - like any other conflict - combatants need to be thoroughly interrogated by the Intelligence Community before they encounter counsel, let alone a public defender," they said.
All jihadist attackers should be charged as enemy combatant, taken into military custody, interrogated for vital intelligence, and tried in military courts under the laws of armed conflict, wrote the Republican lawmakers.
"I think he was indicted two or three days after the incident, and is now spending life in prison in a supermax facility in Colorado -- federal supermax facility," Gibbs said.
In their letter the Republican lawmakers also demanded the Obama administration to revise current rules and criteria that excessively limit who can be placed on the
no-fly list and selector lists and make certain that the government acts aggressively to ensure that all travellers that are the subject of intelligence reports receive full scrutiny.
First Published: Thursday, January 07, 2010, 13:48