The US should immediately prosecute culpable Hamas leaders

Publicly available evidence indicates that key leaders of Hamas, including those residing in Qatar and Turkey, are responsible for the ongoing hostage-taking of American citizens in violation of U.S. law. President Biden should act through the Department of Justice to immediately announce and pursue prosecutions of responsible Hamas leaders. He should call on Doha and Ankara to provisionally arrest and detain them to facilitate U.S. custody for criminal prosecution.

Hamas holds about 240 men, women and children hostage, including nine people. Ten A US citizen was captured by a terrorist organization in Israel on October 7th.Additionally, among the more than 1,200 people Hamas killed in Israel on October 7, at least 33 According to Secretary of State Antony Blinken, U.S. citizens.

These actions constitute a violation of federal criminal law and prohibit the following actions: take hostages and murder Guilty leaders and planners must be held accountable.

Qatar has long been hosted key leaders of Hamas, Ismail Haniyawho the United States has Designated Since January 31, 2018, it has become a “global terrorist.”video reportedly show Haniya, his deputy Saleh al-Arouri, and other Hamas officials. Watch and celebrate From the group’s offices in Doha, it reported on the October 7 massacre in Israel.

Immediately after the attack, Al-Arouri provided Al-Jazeera with one of its first insiders. account Details of the attack, including how each attacker received “detailed instructions” about the target before the attack. Qatar has also hosted other senior Hamas officials, including: Khaled Mashala senior leader (former supreme leader) of Hamas, day of jihad On October 13th, a security alert was issued around the world. America.

Several Hamas officials live It will be stationed in Turkey and used as an operational least dozen Hamas officials are reportedly using Turkey to: Recruitment, plot terrorist attacks against Israel, command military exercises.

The U.S. Department of State and Treasury have designated Hamas a foreign terrorist organization. 1997 and its key leaders Haniya, Al Arouri, mashal, Yahya Al Sinwar, Musa Abu Marzuk People who have been treated as “global terrorists” for the past 20 years.

Furthermore, the United States has long offered Reward of up to $5 million for Al-Arouri for “information that brings justice.”upon October 18th, October 27th and November 14ththe U.S. Treasury Department imposed sanctions on several Hamas financiers based in countries such as Qatar and Turkey.

The Department of Justice should hold Hamas leaders accountable for their barbaric crimes against American citizens, consistent with its constitutional obligation to ensure that American laws are faithfully enforced.we law Authorizes the prosecution of persons who “capture or detain” U.S. citizens as hostages or conspire with others to take or detain U.S. citizens as hostages outside the United States.

Given the recent surge in illegal detentions of Americans by Iran and Russia, the U.S. legal action against guilty Hamas leaders makes clear that individuals holding Americans hostage will be held accountable in U.S. courts. Should.

Additionally, the U.S. law Authorizes the prosecution of those who kill Americans outside the United States or are involved in plots to kill Americans for purposes of terrorism. Although other federal crimes apply, it makes most sense for the Department of Justice to pursue hostage-taking and murder charges first as a result of past successful prosecutions under these statutes. Given the potential for further loss of life to the hostages and innocent residents of Gaza, it is imperative that the U.S. government increase pressure on Hamas to release its nearly 240 hostages as soon as possible.

Even if a particular Hamas leader was not initially aware that American citizens were being kidnapped, he is now undoubtedly complicit in the continuation of this crime.In any case, the US law Evidence of intent to take hostages is required, but intent to take Americans hostage is not required.

That is, the publicly available recordings and other information provide sufficient basis for U.S. law enforcement officials to conclude that the actions of key Hamas leaders, including those in Qatar and Turkey, meet the criteria for conviction under It means that it is provided. 18 United States Code § 1203 A conspiracy to “keep captive” US citizens in order to “force the government (Israel) to do or refrain from any act” as an express or implicit condition of hostage release.

Therefore, the Department of Justice’s long-standing practice is to immediately request the United States to temporarily arrest and detain convicted Hamas leaders in Qatar and Turkey in order to facilitate U.S. detention for criminal prosecution. I’m looking for.

The US government may first demand immediate extradition from Qatar. Musa Abu Marzuk He was detained in the United States to facilitate federal criminal prosecution in the long-running case. USA vs. Marzouk. October 12, 2023 new yorker works It identified Marzouk as a senior Hamas leader and said he was “living in exile in Doha, Qatar.”

Mr. Marzouk has been a fugitive from U.S. justice for 20 years. He coordinated and financed Hamas’ activities. life In the United States from 1988 to 1993.

united states federal government indictment Starting in 2004, Marzouk operated Hamas as an extortion enterprise through murder, abetting murder, conspiracy to kidnap and maim, money laundering, obstruction of justice, material support to designated terrorist organizations, hostage-taking, forgery, and other criminal activities. has been charged with a crime. action. Prosecution and trial for this crime would be an effective legal tool to finally hold Mr. Marzouk accountable and to demonstrate Hamas’ longstanding character.

Hamas officials in Qatar and Turkey are clearly responsible for conspiring with and inciting current and past violent criminal acts against American citizens. The U.S. government should take immediate action and bring all responsible Hamas officials to justice.

Ord Kitley is a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a law professor at Arizona State University, and the author of .Lawfare: Law as a weapon of war” He previously served as a U.S. State Department attorney for more than a decade.

Stephen Perak is an attorney who served as an assistant U.S. attorney in the District of Columbia for 18 years and as deputy director and head of the counterintelligence division in the U.S. Department of Justice’s National Security Division for six years.

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