Sometimes, one is confronted with dicey, contentious and contradictory situations while trying to defend our modern democracy. More often than not, it becomes increasingly difficult to draw a line or set a clear border, where democracy ends and abuse of law begins. Generally, equal rights, equity and fairness amongst everyone are some of the components of democracy and the rule of law. However, it becomes ironic and indeed a discrepancy when the same democracy, which aims at creating fairness and justice seem to lead some to believe that it can encourage undemocratic acts, unfairness and unnecessary abuse. Recently, it has been reported that a Tunisian man called Sami A (surname is withheld), an alleged Osama Bin Laden’s bodyguard, has been living in Germany since 1997 and collecting monthly €1,168 ($1,428; £1,022) in welfare benefits.
According to the sources close to the German anti-terror trial, before Osama Bin Laden relocated to Pakistan, Sami A served for several months in 2000 as one of his bodyguards in Afghanistan. Although Sami A denied the accusation, judges in the court in Düsseldorf had every reason to believe the allegation.
It must be recalled that Osama Bin Laden, the infamous founder of the Al-Qaeda, was not only the godfather of modern terrorism and many global terrorist groups, operating in different parts of the world. These dangerous terrorist organisations have succeeded in beheading, slaughtering and terrorizing thousands of innocent people and destabilizing many countries in the name of wedging war against the West. From Iraq to Yemen, Afghanistan, Somalia, Syria, Libya, down to Nigeria, the terrorist organisations are equally responsible for the global forced migration and humanitarian catastrophe in different parts of the world. It does not help that Osama Bin Laden clearly instructed and encouraged his followers to specifically, target Western countries, including Germany in their campaign of terror. Therefore, as an alleged bodyguard of one of the most dangerous terrorists ever, whose aim was to kill as many Western “infidels” as possible, the fact that Sami A is being paid €1,168 ($1,428; £1,022) monthly, in welfare by the same “enemy” they were bent on murder, has generated a lot of debate and anger globally – especially amongst the Germans.
While the controversies are going on, efforts to declare Sami A, a persona non grata and deport him to his country Tunisia was ruled out by the German authorities because of fears that he could be tortured in his country. In view of these controversial realities, many questions are being raised. Where exactly is the border of democracy and human rights? Should the government pay social welfare to a treasonable culprit who might well be a serious threat to the same government? For the benefit of doubts, Sami A must not be labelled a terrorist, until it is proved by the court. Should a mass murderer or terrorist, who has no value for human lives, not be extradited to his/her country because of fear that he/she might be tortured – the same sadistic act common amongst terrorists? Are such fears that a terrorist could be tortured in their country and – in case of Sami A – the decision of the German government to pay him social benefits monthly and allow him stay in Germany, encouraging terrorists to act fearlessly and with impunity or is the act a triumph of democracy and an affirmation of the superiority of the Western democracy and the respect for human rights over the terrorists’ ideology? Where do we draw the line between human rights and human rights abuse?