Encep Nurjaman, known as “Hambali,” is suspected of being Al-Qaida’s chief of operations for Southeast Asia. He is described as an “operational mastermind” of Jemaah Islamiyah, the militant group responsible for bombing a Bali nightclub in 2012. The attack killed more than 200 people.
Nurjaman recently appeared before a Guantanamo Bay review board, his first public appearance since his transfer to “Gitmo” nearly a decade ago. The review board process gives prisoners a chance to argue for their release. The move is in keeping with president Obama’s desire to shutter the base by the end of his term, now just five months away.
By contrast, Darren Sharper, a former NFL star, has just been sentenced to 18 years in prison for serially “date-raping” a number of women over the course of several years. It is my opinion that he richly deserves the “harsh” sentence, and must be held accountable for his abhorrent actions. That said, are we to let a terrorist leader- one responsible for the deaths of hundreds of innocent men, women and children- go free after spending a much shorter time incarcerated?
Consider this: the U.S. government’s own statement, read at the hearing, characterized Hambali as a continuing security threat, calling him “steadfast in his support for extremist causes and his hatred for the U.S.,” and stating that, “He most likely would look for ways to reconnect with his Indonesian and Malaysian cohorts or attract a new set of followers” if he were released from Guantanamo.