35,000 Convicted of Terrorism Since 9/11…But How Many were Really Terrorists?
Wednesday, September 07, 2011
Uighur prisoners at Guantánamo (AP Photo: Brennan Linsley, Pool)
In the name of stopping political terror since 9/11, governments worldwide have convicted at least 35,000 people. But how many of these individuals were actually terrorists is unclear, due to the efforts of some countries to use anti-terrorism laws to throw dissidents in jail.
According to an investigation by the Associated Press, at least 119,044 terrorism-alleged arrests have been made in the past 10 years around the world. Of this total, 35,117 were convicted in 66 countries.
More than half the convictions occurred in just two countries: Turkey and China. Turkey alone accounted for about a third (12,897). In Turkey, where 20% of the population are Kurds, the government has broadened its attack on Kurdish activists to include as terrorists people who silently hold up signs.
The Chinese Communist government has an even more vague definition of who qualifies as a terrorist. In Xinjiang province (also known as East Turkistan), where ethnic Uighurs have been demonstrating for independence, even people who operate non-political websites can be convicted of terrorism. The United States became caught up in this twisted view of terrorism. In order to appease the Chinese government, the administration of George W. Bush sent 22 Uighurs to Guantánamo Bay, only to discover that they were actually anti-Communist “terrorists.” Most of them were eventually resettled in Palau, Bermuda and Albania, but five are still being held at Guantánamo because the Obama administration doesn’t know what to do with them.
In the United States, there have been 2,934 arrests for terrorism and 2,568 convictions—eight times more than in the decade before.
-David Wallechinsky, Noel Brinkerhoff
Report: 35,000 Worldwide Convicted for Terror (by Martha Mendoza, Associated Press)
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