NEW YORK, July 12 (Reuters) - Nearly 500 individuals accused
of terrorism-related charges have been convicted in U.S. federal
courts in the decade since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and
almost 100 of those have been in New York courts, according to
statistics from the U.S. Department of Justice released Thursday
by a human rights organization.
Between the Sept. 11 attacks and December 31, 2011, 494
individuals were convicted in 60 different federal courts in 37
states, said Human Rights First. The group obtained the
information through a Freedom of Information Act request to the
Brooklyn and Long Island had the highest number of
convictions, a total of 49, the statistics showed. There were 45
in the Eastern District of Michigan, 44 in the Southern District
of New York, 35 in the Eastern District of Virginia and 28 in
the Southern District of Florida, according to the report.
A DOJ spokesman confirmed the statistics but declined
While the data does not prove the effectiveness of the
criminal justice system, Human Rights First said, it shows that
federal civilian courts have established a record of safely
trying terror-related cases without threatening national
Critics say that the cases belong in military commissions
because of potential security threats to the courthouses.
One high-profile case, that of accused Sept. 11 plotter
Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and several alleged co-conspirators, was
moved out of New York's Southern District to a military tribunal
in Guantanamo Bay after lawmakers expressed concern about the
cost of providing as much as $1 billion to secure lower
Manhattan, where the courthouse is located.
Federal prosecutors group terrorism-related convictions into
one of two categories. Category I deals with violations of
federal statutes directly related to international terrorism --
for instance, the use of weapons of mass destruction and
conspiracy to murder people abroad. Category II includes charges
involving an identified link to international terrorism
Out of the 494 convictions, roughly 220 defendants were
classified as Category I, while the rest fell under Category II,
the statistics showed.
(Reporting by Jessica Dye)
Follow us on Twitter @ReutersLegal | Like us on Facebook