Rep. Kucinich Says Everyone, Including Osama Bin Laden, Should Get the Same 'Basic Rights'
November 20, 2009 - 4:49 PMWhen asked whether al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden should have the right to remain silent and given a lawyer, liberal Democrat Rep. Dennis Kucinich told CNSNews.com that everyone who is accused of a crime should have the same "basic rights" afforded by the U.S. Constitution.
On Capitol Hill on Nov. 19, CNSNews.com asked Kucinich, “If and when the U.S. captures Osama Bin Laden, should he have the right to remain silent and be given a lawyer--told he can get a lawyer?”
Kucinich said: “I think that America does best when the values that we want other nations to share that we profess and stand by, and I think that every one who is accused of a crime should have the basic rights that are afforded. I mean, that’s what America’s about.”
“We can’t have one set of rules there and another set of rules there,” said Kucinich. “America is one set of rules. We abide by the Constitution, and I think that Constitution is our protection now and in the future.”
When asked the same question by CNSNews.com on Nov. 19, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said, “Well, let’s see, how many years has it been? Nine, eight years. Let’s worry about capturing Bin Laden and not worry about your, your question.”
During a hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee on Nov. 18, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) asked Attorney General Eric Holder several questions about how the capture and legal handling of Osama Bin Laden might be handled and warned that, in his opinion, the United States is “making bad history” by trying 9/11 suspect Khalid Sheik Mohammed in a civilian court.
When Graham asked whether the U.S. would try Bin Laden in a civilian court or military commission, Holder said he “didn’t know” and that the U.S. would have to “go through our protocol” before deciding what to do with the Islamic terrorist.
“If we captured bin Laden tomorrow, would he be entitled to Miranda warnings at the moment of capture?” Graham asked Holder. Holder’s response was “that all depends,” and Graham warned that the Obama administration’s new legal policy would confuse the military and the justice system.
“Well, it does not ‘depend,’” the senator said. “The big problem I have is that you’re criminalizing the war, that if we caught bin Laden tomorrow, we’d have mixed theories and we couldn’t turn him over—to the CIA, the FBI or military intelligence—for an interrogation on the battlefield, because now we’re saying that he is the subject to criminal court in the United States.
“And you’re confusing the people fighting this war,” Graham charged. Later, the senator added, “The only point I’m making (is) that if we’re going to use federal court as a disposition for terrorists, you take everything that comes with being in federal court."
Holder announced last Friday that he had chosen to try Mohammed in federal court in the Southern District of New York, which includes Manhattan, where the attacks on the World Trade Center occurred in 2001.