Posted by Exile on February 18, 2007
The cat is really amongst the pigeons in the legal halls of Denmark after the acquittal of three of the four men charged with planning terrorist activity. Both “sides” are complaining bitterly about the case, not least of all the District Attorney. He is now pressing the Public Prosecutor to determine if and when he can raise new charges against the three.
The whole charade started after a jury had found all four suspects guilty of planning a terror action, The three judges hearing the case rescinded the decision and acquitted three of the men. Jørn Vestergaard, an associate law professor at the University of Copenhagen said, and I quote; ‘It isn’t enough to raise the probability that someone is radical, fundamental or doing something suspicious.’ And that is exactly the problem. How does one prove intent? I mean, beyond doubt. Our laws do not allow for that.
The nub is, that planning a crime is not a crime. It is only after you commit that crime that you are outside of the law. We have to illegalise the planning and intention to commit wrongful, especially terrorist, activity.
I am not alone in this opinion.
Jyllands Posten had this to say in its article on the Copenhagen Post:
The controversial outcome of Denmark’s first court case involving new strict anti-terrorism laws has generated a wave of opinion from both supporters and critics of yesterday’s decision. Some suggest it could lead to changes in the Danish legal system.
After a jury had found all four suspects guilty of planning a terror action, the three judges hearing the case rescinded the decision and acquitted three of the men. The fourth suspect, Abdul Basit Abu-Lifa, 17, was sentenced to seven years imprisonment. If sentenced as an adult, he could have been punished with life in prison.
“Some suggest it could lead to changes in the Danish legal system.” I say, it must lead to changes in the Danish legal system. It must also lead to changes in all the other legal systems all over the western world as well. If prevention is better than cure, then we have to have legal tools to prevent with. Jørn Vestergaard’s “probability that someone is radical, fundamental or doing something suspicious” has to be enough.
The Islamisk Trossamfund, the national organisation representing Denmark’s Muslims, is playing the victim card again, protesting that the sentencing of the one man merely underscores the present bias against muslims, adding that the conviction could fuel further prejudice against Muslims. Which is both typical and predictable. After all, we all know that Islam is the religion of peace, yada-yada, ad-nauseam. However, the organisation did express concern that the young men, some of whom were born in Denmark, had adopted fundamentalist views.
Well, it’s about time.
I’m going to keep an eye on this. Any change in the legal system is always interesting. I want to see how our politicians are going to respond.
Link: Copenhagen Post. English version.