Tens of Thousands Sign Petition Urging Holder to Move KSM Trial from New York

By Matt Cover | January 8, 2010 | 6:23 PM EST

Update: As of Monday morning, January 11, the petition has garnered more than 60,000 signatures, including those of conservative author Ann Coulter and former New York Gov. George Pataki (R), the petition's organizers said.

(CNSNews.com) – More than 60,000 people (new number), including members of Congress and three former presidential candidates, have signed a petition calling on Attorney General Eric Holder to move the trial of Khalid Shiekh Mohammed (or KSM) from New York City to a military tribunal.
The petition, launched Jan. 6 and sponsored by the conservative publications Human Events and RedState.com, calls on Holder to move the trials of Mohammed and four other al Qaeda terrorists from federal court in New York and return them to the military tribunal system.
Mohammed, the mastermind of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, had previously indicated he wanted to plead guilty before a military tribunal. Since being transferred to civilian court, his lawyer has said Mohammed will plead not guilty. The petition says that there is “no reason” to try Mohammed and his four co-conspirators in federal court.
“We, the editors of HUMAN EVENTS, RedState.com, and the many Americans who have attached our names to this petition hereby request that you try al-Qaeda's confessed 9/11 terrorist mastermind, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and his four al-Qaeda cohorts, in a military tribunal, reversing your precedent-changing decision to try them in a civilian court in New York City,” the petition reads.
“There is no reason, much less a requirement, under U.S. constitutional or statutory law to grant KSM and the others the right to a trial in civilian courts, nor to offer them any of the corresponding constitutional rights afforded U.S. citizens.”
The petition further says that al Qaeda terrorists like Mohammed be treated as illegal combatants and tried under the laws of war, rather than under criminal law.
“Logic, reason, and justice demand that the terrorists who planned the 9/11 attacks be treated as enemy combatants in a war against the United States, not as common civilian criminals,” reads the petition.
The petition has been signed by a number of prominent Republicans and conservatives, including former presidential candidates and current and former members of Congress. Among the notable signatories are Reps. Todd Tiarht (R-Kan.), John Shadegg (R-Ariz.), Tom Price (R-Ga.), Peter King (R-N.Y.), Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), and Trent Franks (R-Ariz.).
Other prominent public figures who have signed the petition include former presidential candidates Steve Forbes, Mike Huckabee, and Mitt Romney, along with former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) and conservative talk show giant Mark Levin.
The petition has also earned the signatures of former Virginia Gov. and U.S. Sen. George Allen, syndicated columnist and author Michelle Malkin, and actor and author Chuck Norris.
Erick Erickson, editor of the blog RedState.com, told CNSNews.com that the petition’s popularity showed that the issue resonated with the public. Erickson explained that the petition reflected a growing dissatisfaction with a president perceived as being more interested in protecting the rights of terrorists than the safety of the American people.
“I think this resonates with people,” Erickson said. “It really resonates with people particularly after this attempted bombing and we see a president who’s more interested in lawyering-up than soldiering-up.”