“Jawad’s case is, I believe, a miscarriage of justice”
A miscarriage of justice; that’s how Jeremy Corbyn described the conviction of Jawad Botmeh, sentenced to 20 years in prison for terrorist offences, in a letter to Botmeh’s employer.
There is a chasm of difference between ‘miscarriage of justice’ and failing to get off on a technicality. That difference seems lost on Corbyn.
Botmeh’s conviction is discussed in a lot more detail in an earlier post – click here – but here are a few salient details:
Botmeh and his co-defendant Samar Alami were arrested in the wake of two car bomb attacks in London in 1994; at the Israeli Embassy and a Jewish organisation. Twenty people were injured.
Botmeh and Alami were caught with bombs, bomb making equipment, guns and ammunition. They admitted that, and having the material, expertise and books to make explosives. They said that they had been experimenting with bomb-making and bomb delivery but said they planned to use them outside the UK and had no connection to the London bombings.
There was, additionally, ample evidence connecting them to the bombings themselves (see the previous post for that, as outlined by the judges at the Court of Appeal). It’s that element of the convictions Corbyn and his friends (including Amnesty international – see here) take issue with. They say there were faults in disclosure and relating the evidence covered by Public Interest Immunity Certificates connected to national security.
All of those arguments were considered, several times, by senior judges at the High Court and Court of Appeal, culminating in a judgment by 3 senior judges finding no issue with the conviction. The Judges at the European Court of Human Rights also, unanimously, found no issue with the trial.
But let’s take a step back. Let’s just suppose an appeal had revealed a problem with the Public Immunity or disclosure, what then? Would we have seen Botmeh and Alami outside the Court of Appeal with their cheering supporters, including Jeremy Corbyn, ready to take them for a celebratory lunch before resuming their worthy activism?
Of course not. They were bomb-makers, caught with bombs and guns. Of that there is no dispute, they readily admitted it. They would have gone to prison for a very long time for that. These are not ‘innocent’ people.
By what logical and moral gymnastics could that be said to be a ‘miscarriage of justice’, making them people to be lauded and celebrated? As Mo Dawah summed it up perfectly;
“Even if these terrorists I campaigned to have freed were convicted in a court and actually did it, doesn’t mean they are ‘guilty'”
Mo Dawah – @kingofdawah
Jeremy Corbyn knows the case well enough to know all of that. Which means that either; he feels because Botmeh and Alami were targeting people he found politically repellent, they ought not to be blameworthy, which would mean his moral values are utterly corrupted.
Or he is so fixed on a technicality that it has clouded his rational thought in relation to all other elements of the case which would mean he is incapable of complex decision-making.
Jeremy Corbyn told Iranian state broadcaster Press TV in 2011 – see here -that the killing of Osama bin Laden was part of the ‘tragedy’ and that bin Laden ought to have been brought to trial, in his words:
“The solution has got to be law”
Jeremy Corbyn, Press TV 2011
Yet in a case where, at every stage of appeal, the law is found to have been correctly, appropriately and fairly applied, when Corbyn doesn’t like the decision he chooses to undermine the institution, an institution whose oversight and independence he is aiming to be entrusted with.