The American war on terror is not the only Western effort against jihad being hamstrung by overzealous rights advocates and their elitist sycophants in the judiciary and legislature. In the Netherlands, the recent case of suspected terrorist Samir Azzouz, as summarized by The New York Times, seems oddly similar to the trial of Sami Al-Arian :
Samir Azzouz is only 19, but for almost three years Dutch authorities have struggled without success to punish him for what they see as plotting terrorism.
Police records show that he was first placed under surveillance in early 2003, when he was in high school, after he was stopped at the Ukrainian border while trying to join Islamic militants in Chechnya.
He was arrested months later in Amsterdam but released in days for lack of evidence. Arrested again in June 2004 on terrorist-related charges, he was convicted only of weapons possession. The police had found an array of materials that could be used to make bombs at his home in Amsterdam, including detonators and a yellow plastic lemon juice bottle, with bits of fertilizer inside, attached to a Christmas tree bulb.
They had also discovered crude hand-drawn sketches of some of the Netherlands’ most important symbols of power, including the Parliament, the Amsterdam airport, the Ministry of Defense and the Dutch nuclear reactor, as well as CD’s, videos and Internet sites showing how to make explosive devices.
In October, prosecutors arrested him for a third time, with new evidence, and will put him and six others on trial.
The prosecution says it is confident that its case is strong this time. But since no terrorist act was committed, it faces a tough challenge: proving that Mr. Azzouz’s seeming intentions constituted crimes.
The folks at the New York Times would have us believe that these intentions remain mysterious and that the prosecution of Mr. Azzouz is some sort of covert attempt to criminalize political thought. However, if one reads a bit further…
The case of Mr. Azzouz has been particularly frustrating for prosecutors. In the case against him in 2004, prosecutors had records of chat-room conversations on the Internet in which Mr. Azzouz vowed to kill non-Muslims in the Netherlands and proclaimed his support for the violent overthrow of the Dutch government and its replacement with a government of Islamic law.
Besides the sketches of what appeared to be targets, the police raid of his home turned up homemade detonators, a pellet gun, a silencer, night-vision goggles, a bulletproof vest, ammunition clips, fertilizer, chemicals and handwritten lists of where to buy fertilizer.
The police also found a signed, handwritten letter from Mr. Azzouz to his expected child, expressing the hope that if the child was a boy, he would pursue jihad and go to a training camp when he turned 15.
Prosecutors and much of the public were stunned in April when a panel of judges acquitted Mr. Azzouz of plotting attacks. Adding to the frustration was Mr. Azzouz’s smiling, triumphant appearance before his friends and reporters on the day of his release, before he suddenly turned angry and punched a photographer.
Prosecutors appealed, but an appeals court upheld the acquittal in November. It ruled that although Mr. Azzouz had “terrorist intentions,” his preparations were “in such an early stage and so clumsy and primitive that there was no concrete threat.”
Hopefully the robed clowns who set this ticking time bomb free last time will take advantage of their second chance.