Federal Court: It’s Alright For Mahamud Omar.

undefinedHalkaan ka akhri

WASHINGTON — To many in the halls of power here in Washington, the notion of trying an alleged terrorist in plain old federal court just isn’t acceptable. The proper place: a tribunal run by the U.S. military.

Given this, it’s a bit hard to understand the lack of controversy over the case of Mahamud Omar, a Somali-born man charged by federal prosecutors with being a terrorist recruiter.

Nary a peep of objection has been voiced by members of Congress over the treatment of Omar, who is back in the U.S. awaiting a federal court hearing Monday, after being extradited from the Netherlands in recent days.

Omar was charged in a 2009 indictment that alleged a ring of fundraisers and recruiters helped lure young ethnic-Somali men, mostly from the Minneapolis area, to join al-Shabaab militant group in their homeland, where insurgents at the time were fighting Ethiopian troops. U.S. authorities say Shabaab has been actively forging alliances with al Qaeda affiliates in Yemen and elsewhere. The young U.S. recruits cause worries among U.S. law enforcement because of fears that radicalization could lead to home-grown terrorism.

In other recent terror cases, Republican lawmakers have opposed the Justice Department’s move to hold civilian trials, arguing that terror suspects should be handled by military courts for security reasons.

Among the cases that have prompted controversy: charges filed in June against two Iraqis in Kentucky, and a Somali mid-level Shabaab operative intercepted at sea and held on a U.S. Navy ship for two months before being charged last month in federal court in Manhattan.

Obama administration officials say Congress is overstepping its bounds by trying to micro-manage prosecutions. The efforts follow restrictions by Congress that block the administration from moving suspects from the Guantanamo prison in Cuba to the U.S. for trials.

President Barack Obama has vowed to close Guantanamo, but the president has signed — under protest — legislation that restricts moving Guantanamo prisoners.

The Omar case in Minneapolis is the latest in a series that have focused on Shabaab. Other defendants have already agreed to plea deals and have been sentenced to prison.

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