The Turkish government responded with anger at failure of Belgian courts to convict seven terrorists who belonged to the Revolutiionairy People’s Liberation Party. The group is on the European Union terror list and Turkey wanted them to receive extended sentences, but the court merely convicted them of lesser charges related to possession of firearms and having false documents. Belgium’s Foreign Minister Karel De Gucht pointed out, “Statements saying that Belgian justice authorities helped terrorism are totally unacceptable.”
The entire issue of how do nations deal with terror “suspects” should begin by focusing on the word “suspect.” Part of the problem in handling terror “suspects” is the abuse of the Bush administration which imprisons people, refuses to place them on trial and insists the fact they were arrested is in itself proof of their guilt. This blog does not know if the Belgian court acted correctly, but supports the importance of courts dealing with facts rather than fears. We must move away from the American policy that individuals can be arrested and imprisoned for long periods of time without any recourse to justice. If someone is a terrorist, then place them on trial and get them convicted on the basis of evidence. That is the best strategy of dealing with terrorism.