In order to win extradition for [Dutch citizen and alleged terrorist Wesam al-]Delaema to face trial in the United States, prosecutors had to make a raft of promises to the Dutch authorities that would be insulting to American perceptions of the rule of law, were they not so completely well-earned over the past few years. The defendant will be tried in criminal court, not by a military tribunal. He will not face the death penalty, even though under our law his crimes could warrant it. He will serve his sentence—possibly a life one—in a jail in the Netherlands, not here. And, perhaps most astonishing of all, the United States had to agree that Dutch courts will be able to review and possibly modify the terms of the American court's sentence once Delaema is returned to the Netherlands. The American judgment, then, is not necessarily final. And all this because, according to Delaema's attorney, the U.S. government no longer can be trusted to treat its prisoners humanely. Clearly, the Dutch authorities agree.
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Tuesday, January 30, 2007