Accused al Qaeda recruiter Ali Charaf Damache is scheduled to face a civilian trial Friday in Philadelphia, breaking with President Trump's campaign promise to fill Guantánamo Bay with "bad dudes." Hardliners, including Attorney General Jeff Sessions, have traditionally criticized the prosecution of suspected terrorists on American soil, with Sessions in particular claiming such suspects "do not deserve the same legal rights as common criminals and that such trials were too dangerous to hold on American soil," The New York Times writes. "With Mr. Damache's transfer, Mr. Sessions has adopted a strategy that he vehemently opposed when it was carried out under President Barack Obama."
An Algerian and Irish citizen, Damache was transferred to the U.S. from Spain and is suspected of plotting a failed attempt to kill a Swedish cartoonist who drew the Prophet Muhammad with a dog's body. Damache is also believed to have worked as a recruiter for al Qaeda.
"For years, Republicans portrayed civilian trials as a weakness in Mr. Obama's national security policy," the Times writes, adding: "Mr. Damache's transfer represents a collision of the Trump administration's tough rhetoric and the reality of fighting terrorism in 2017." Read more at The New York Times.