For years, the argument against closing Guantánamo Bay prison was that U.S. officials did not trust civilian courts on the mainland to deal with prisoners accused of terrorist crimes.
Well, meet Abu Hamza al-Masri. He was convicted last week of charges related to the taking of 16 hostages in Yemen in 1998 in a case in which four people died. He was also convicted of advocating violent jihad (a war against opponents of Islam) in Afghanistan in 2001 and of conspiring to set up a jihad training camp in Oregon.
Hamza was tried and convicted under his real name, Mustapha Kamel Mustapha. He was extradited from Great Britain in 2012.
Hamza stood trial, testified for four days and was convicted in Manhattan’s federal court. The world did not burst into flames. Terrorists did not storm the courthouse.
In recent presidential campaigns, Republicans and Democrats alike wanted to close the prison, but nothing happened (though the numbers have dropped, now to about 150). Mainland courts, jurisprudence and prisons show they are able to handle any case that comes up from Guantánamo Bay.