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... supports Professor William Snyder's sections of National Security Law, Counterterrorism Law, and Prosecuting Terrorists at the Syracuse University College of Law.

Ex-bin Laden aide gets life for NY prison stabbing – Nation AP

The Associated Press and Miami Herald report that Mamdouh Mahmud Salim was sentenced on 8/31/10 to life in prison for stabbing a guard in the eye:

The sentence for Salim was actually a resentencing, since a federal appeals court said in December 2008 that the judge should have imposed a terrorism enhancement to the guilty pleas he entered to crimes of conspiracy to murder a federal official and attempted murder of a federal official. The judge originally sentenced Salim in 2004 to 32 years in prison.

Salim, who before the Sept. 11 attacks was believed to be the highest-ranking al-Qaida member held in the United States, was not in court but appeared by video on courtroom monitors. He was handcuffed and shackled at the waist on a chair in front of rows of books at the maximum-security Supermax prison in Florence, Colo. He kept his head tilted against a phone resting on his shoulder.


This case has particular relevance to our course for two reasons.  First, the litigation has wrestled with the definition of "terrorism."  The United States Sentencing Guidelines incorporate by reference a definition in the reading assignment for Lesson 4 from 18 United States Code, Section 2332(b)(G)(5).  This sentence first was sentenced by the District Court folowing a finding that the stabbing was not related to terrorism, a case our course read in years past.  Now, folowing appellate litigation, the stabbing is considered to have been related to terrorism and subject to a 12 offense level enhancement under the Guidelines.

Second, this article illustrates the use of video conferencing technology.  When United States District Judge Leonie M. Brinkema spoke with our class last year and the year before, she suggested that increased use of video conferencin technology could allow Article III courts to adapt to the increased dangers of terrorism cases while maintaining the same jurisdiction and venue rules.

  Professor Snyder can provide the various public opinions in this case upon request.

UPDATE: The New York Times has now published, "Salim, a Reputed bin Laden Advisor, Gets Life Term."

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