Bomber’s sister a nasty piece of work, apparently

An update on my earlier entry on the brother and sister of Omar Sharif who attempted to blow up a pizza parlour in Tel Aviv; I suspected that people would find them guilty even if they were acquitted, and that has indeed happened. Apparently some schoolkids said that she made some comment about being “on Bin Laden’s team” while working as a supply teacher at the time of the 9/11 attacks. She is also accused of having told the kids that, if they had any relatives in New York, they were dead.

Well, two things stick out about this. The first is that it’s not been the first time that someone has been cleared of a criminal act and smeared by the authorities afterwards. Bob Woffinden, a well-known campaigner on miscarriages of justice in the UK, noted that the police came up with a load of smears against Stephen Downing, who spent well over 25 years in jail after confessing under duress to a murder he didn’t commit, in order to justify their actions and clear their criminal officers of any wrongdoing.

The second is that the supposed comments were made while working as a supply teacher. What schoolchildren ever like supply teachers? They’re the nasty strict teachers who make you sit and do some stock worksheet, and have a load of rules you aren’t familiar with. And the evidence was discounted because of the age of the children involved.

So, it’s inadmissible in court. But not in the newspapers, of course. And like the words in the email, the words are ambiguous. A lot of Muslims did not believe Osama bin Laden was behind 9/11 and some still don’t. Many saw him as a courageous fighter against Soviet oppression, against Northern Alliance thuggery and later against American imperialism. If someone said then that they were “on his team”, it is no evidence that they were involved in terrorism.

The fact remains that it does not prove that she was guilty of this particular offence.

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