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US files charges in airport shooting

The Local · 22 Jun 2011, 06:18

Published: 22 Jun 2011 06:18 GMT+02:00

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Arid Uka, 21, allegedly approached a bus at the airport on March 2 and asked in English if it was carrying Americans before shooting dead the driver and a passenger and wounding two other US Air Force personnel.

"As Uka fired his gun, he repeated aloud an Arabic expression that means 'God is great,' and continued shooting until his gun did not fire," read a statement put out by federal prosecutors in New York.

The US complaint accused Uka of two counts of murder, one count of attempted murder, one count of using a firearm in a violent crime and a fifth count of committing a deadly act at an international civil airport.

Uka is currently detained in Germany, where he faces similar charges over what has been described as the first Islamic extremist attack on German soil.

German prosecutors believe Uka carried out the attack to avenge what he saw as atrocities by US troops in Afghanistan but have said they are not aware of links between him and terror groups.

The killings have had ramifications for American military personnel in Germany. Security was ramped up in their wake and soldiers were ordered not to wear their uniforms in public.

It was not immediately clear whether the charges filed in New York indicated that Uka could face trial in the United States.

Story continues below…


The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

06:47 June 22, 2011 by jmclewis
It is sad two American US airmen were murdered, but the crime occurred in Germany Not US Soil and the man should be dealt with by Germany. If a German drives to fast in NYC should he get a ticket in Berlin?
07:09 June 22, 2011 by auniquecorn
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
08:57 June 22, 2011 by dbert4
@auniquecorn - "America just wants justice, a eye for an eye, so to speak". PLEEEEZE! Using your logic, the Iraqis and the Afghanis have one hell of a beef with the US. THEY didn't do anything to the US yet they were attached, occupied and their people slaughtered.

The Germans need to deal with this guy, not the Amis.
09:13 June 22, 2011 by freechoice
Amis wants to buy him a free orifice sandwich at Guantanamo Bay. you reckon the E-Coli debacle, these crazy fundementalists got anything to do with it?
10:02 June 22, 2011 by marimay
Well, at least he wouldn't be released in 18 years....
10:07 June 22, 2011 by golfcricket
Exactly marimay: The difference here is that he "will" be released back out into the population of human beings if tried and dealt with by the Germans. In the U.S.?? He will rot in prison... Yes! It was on German soil... but the Germans system is ridiculous.. 2 human beings were killed.. End of story.. the guy needs to rot..
12:17 June 22, 2011 by nemo999
The Federal Attorney office for the Eastern District of New York, contents in their filing that since the alleged assailant, enter the United States Air Force Bus, he was on United States Property, and while on the USAF vehicle he did murder two members of the United Sates Armed Forces, and attempt to murder one member of the United States Armed Forces, and did also commit a violent act with a firearm.

This is all based that the acts took place on the USAF Vehicle, which the Federal Attorney is claiming to be sovereign United States property. The Federal Attorney of Eastern New York is not charging him with the attempted murder on the first United States Armed Forces member, since this took place on FRG Soil. This covers the first four of the five charges.

The Fifth charge "committing a deadly act at an international civil airport", is reach, given that the airport in question is not on United States sovereign territory or property, and the last time I checked a bus is not an airport.

The Federal Attorney of Eastern New York is claiming that under the SOFA agreement between the United States, and Federal Republic of Germany, that the United States has the right to either have the cases for the two murdered United States Armed Forces members and the attempted murder of the other United States Armed Forces member either handled by the FRG or be handled by the United States.

The Federal Attorney of Eastern New York is contenting that the alleged perpetrator violated the following 18 U.S.C 37, 18 U.S.C 930, 18 U.S.C 1111-1114, 1119, 18 U.S.C 1203, and 18 U.S.C 2332 Well that is their claim.

The extradition hearing should be a real show, given that currently under United States Federal law the death penalty can be prescribed.
12:41 June 22, 2011 by Gretl
@ nemo999 - I am not an attorney, as I assume you are, and am unfamiliar with all the terms of the SOFA. However, I find it hard to believe a bus can be considered sovereign property. In my understanding, even the US military installations are not completely sovereign, am I correct? Only the embassies have that status.
13:14 June 22, 2011 by ChrisRea

"but the Germans system is ridiculous.."

Well, definitely the American justice system cannot claim that it is better. Besides the infamous Guantanamo, many trials involving US soldiers committing crimes on foreign soil ended with ridiculous verdicts. Probably the most recent famous one is of U.S. Marine Staff Sergeant Christopher Van Goethem serving as a Marine Security Guard at the U.S. embassy in Bucharest. He drove while drunk, did not obey the red signal and killed a famous Romanian singer. The Marine was later cleared by a court martial while admitting the facts. According to your logic ("2 human beings were killed.. End of story.. the guy needs to rot.."), he should rot as well, isn't it?
15:51 June 22, 2011 by toemag
It's all about choices. I choose to be a law abiding member of society, even if those laws and the people making them are as daft as a box of frogs.

The Germans should hand him over to the US authorities and be grateful that he is no longer their problem, so what if he gets the death sentence, he deserves it, so he is a mentally imbalanced individual who was not connected to the terrorists. He still killed two people and wounded two other people, and Germany's penal system is ill equipped to punish such a person.
16:30 June 22, 2011 by trash head
Dead is no punishment, its a crime.

Yes, hand him out to the US with theire stoneage justice system and waste another life after two dead already.

"He throw stones? Now, that he throw stones, we throw stones at him as well, to show him, that throwing stones is not a good solution at all !"
19:32 June 22, 2011 by Jack Kerouac
"waste another life after two dead already."

Really, trash head? I think this man "wasted" his life when he chose to pull a gun on civilians and soldiers and kill two people. Now justice has to be dealt out. The method and extent of that is the court's prerogative. According to your "stone-throwing" logic, nobody should be punished for any crime, because retaliation is bad. Would you have Arid Uka pardoned, then?
21:21 June 22, 2011 by nemo999
Dear Gretl;

Welcome to world of treaties, and in particular Status of Forces Agreements. What is in this one fills volumes. It history dates back the late 1940's. Lawyer in many cases are very lazy individuals, so they typically will copy something that already exists as boilerplate, and then start to make changes. This particular document has been crafted by lawyer from the respective country Dept of State or Foreign Ministry, Dept of Defense, Ministry of Defense. Finally, the politician had to agree that it was acceptable. Has any one really read the document and understand, I doubt it. In many of these documents there are statement that contradict each other, this is on purpose, it allows both side an out, for the sticky political situations.

In this case it will come down to 2 items, rather than a detail examination of the Status of Forces Agreement between the FRG and the United States.

1. What kind of political deal was or is being made at the highest levels between the United States and the Federal Republic of Germany. Based on some of the wording of the various sections of 18 U.S.C. require that the the Attorney General United States has to agree to proceed in writing. Since the charges have been forwarded, the Attorney General has signed off on the prosecution. Which means that he has approval from the President, with assurances that the FRG will not too strongly stand in the way.

2. This matter will rattle around the German Court System for some time. This may actually be part of the plan, in order to let the fuss and noise subside, hoping that everyone attention is diverted to something else.

3. The accused will have to face an extradition hearing in the FRG. His attorney will lead this defense in this action. How much of a fight if any the State Attorney for the FRG will provide against extradition? See item 1. Speculation on my part is that for the FRG to agree to the extradition, the Death Penalty could not be an option for punishment. It is cheaper to keep an individual confined for the rest of his natural life than to execute him.
23:42 June 22, 2011 by Expat IV
"It is cheaper to keep an individual confined for the rest of his natural life than to execute him?"

Get a grip on reality! I have worked in the prison system in the US. The average cost per person is close to $100,000 per year for incarceration--about the same as the yearly cost to attend Harvard.

I am not a member of the "Fry 'em" Club of the US, but at least get your facts straight.
01:30 June 23, 2011 by fourwheeler77
As a Criminal Justice major and a fellow Air Force person, I am torn on this whole subject. The Air Force side of me says this guys needs to get the death penalty, but in reality that is not going to happen. First, Germany does not have the death penalty and I would be that a provision of extraditing him to the United States will be that he does not face the death penalty. It will be interesting to see how this plays out. The fact is that security at Frankfurt airport was very poor and two members of the military got killed because of it. This guy killed the people at point blank directly in the head. He needs to be severely punished.

@Expat IV- So ok, you work in the US prison system. Then you should know that it takes forever to give someone a death sentence. This guy would be sitting on death row eating up American tax dollars for a long time while going through the appeals process. Do I think he deserves life in prison, no.
01:35 June 23, 2011 by Flint
He would be out of a German prison in fifteen years, assuming he serves his full sentence. Of course, it's more likely that al Qaeda will kidnap a German, demand his release and obtain the collapse of the German will to punish terrorists. Hey, it worked for the Munich Olympic terrorists, right?
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