Kerry wary of sympathy for alleged terrorists

Secretary of State John Kerry on Monday defended the U.S. capture of a top al Qaeda figure wanted in connection with two U.S. Embassy bombings in the 1990s.

Libya’s government has called the capture of Abu Anas al-Liby on Saturday a "kidnapping" and has demanded an explanation.  

When asked about Libya's response, Kerry said it is important for people not to sympathize with alleged terrorists. 

ADVERTISEMENT
“I think it’s important for people in the world not to sympathize with alleged terrorists but to underscore the importance of rule of law,” Kerry said at a press conference. “And that is the perception that we believe is the important one for people to understand.”

Kerry noted that al-Liby had been indicted in New York for his alleged involvement in the bombings of the U.S. embassies in Tanzania and Kenya in 1998. 

Al-Liby had been on the FBI’s "Most Wanted" list for years with a $5 million reward for information leading to his capture. 

“I hope the perception is in the world that people who commit acts of terror and who have been appropriately indicted by courts of law, by the legal process, will know that the United States of America is going to do everything in its power that is legal and appropriate in order to enforce the law and protect our security,” Kerry said. 

Kerry said the United States has regular contact with the Libyan government but declined to say whether the country had been consulted before the raid. 

Kerry said al-Liby would now have an opportunity to defend himself in U.S. courts. 

“So an indictment is an accusation,” he said. “In our legal system, a defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty. But he will now have an opportunity to defend himself and to be appropriately brought to justice in a court of law.”