A main talking point of the Aafia Repatriation Brigade is that America is using a double standard, and that no Americans would be allowed to be held and tried in Pakistan courts. But American newspaper Wall Street Journal today reports that quite the opposite is the true, and actually the Americans are allowing the five US citizens who were arrested in Pakistan for terrorism to be tried and sentenced here.
The five men from America came to Pakistan to try to commit some terrorist attacks here with Jaish-e-Mohammed and al Qaeda. And now a judge has charged each of them accordingly.
A Pakistani judge officially charged five Americans from the Washington area with plotting terrorism in the country, after they were arrested in December on allegations of trying to link up with an al Qaeda operative.
Now, these five men are being held in prison in Pakistan while they are being tried for their crimes. And even in the prison they have claimed to suffer some abuse.
The men have said in court they have faced physical violence in jail, including being choked by a guard. But Mr. Katchela said there have been no repeat incidents of mistreatment in the past month.
So this case has many simliarities to the Aafia case because the accused have charged that they have been abused by their guards. But look at the way that the Americans are responding — they are not calling for and end to diplomatic ties, nor are they denouncing in their media our country as some evili conspiracy. Rather, they are respecting our judiciary and letting the process go forward without interference.
Mark Toner, a State Department spokesman, said U.S. consular officials were present at the hearing in Sargodha Wednesday and were able to meet with the five men while they were there.
“We’re monitoring the trial; we had someone at the hearing,” said Mr. Toner. “But we don’t have any comment on the veracity of the charges. We’ll let the legal system play itself out.”
Even on the charges of abuse by the guards, the Americans have shown respect to us. They are not whipping up hysteria, but rather are raising the issues properly and trusting our own officials to see that things are handled properly.
Mr. Toner said the State Department had raised the issue of abuse with Pakistani authorities in the past, but added that the U.S. government believed the legal proceedings were moving forward in an open and transparent manner.
This is an interesting situation, and one that should be instructive to those who continue to believe the conspiracy theories that are being passed around. If the Americans are willing to trust our judiciary to try their citizens for crimes against us, why are we not willing to offer the same? It is something to consider…