Berlin—On Tuesday, federal prosecutors in New York brought charges against Arid Uka, a radical Islamist who killed two U.S. servicemen and wounded two more in Germany’s Frankfurt International Airport in March.
Uka, who was born in Kosovo, worked as a postal employee at the airport, is reported to have shouted “Allahu akbar!” (Arabic for “God is great”) as he shot U.S. airmen Zachary R. Cuddeback, 21, of Stanardsville, Virginia, and Nicholas J. Alden, 25, of Williamston, South Carolina, who were on their way to Afghanistan.
Meanwhile, a court in Frankfurt announced plans to release Red Army Faction terrorist Birgit Hogefeld, who served a mere 18 years in prison for the murder of U.S. soldier Edward Pimental and the bombing of a U.S. military base that killed two more U.S. servicemen.
In 1985, Hogefeld lured Pimental away from a disco to steal his identity card, and was convicted for her involvement in the killing of him. Later, the Red Army Faction used Pimental’s credentials to gain entry to the Rhein-Main Air Base, and used explosives to kill two more people.
If the Hogefeld case is any guide, the German justice system will probably not sentence Uka to life in prison. After a relatively lenient penalty, he’s likely to be released.
Perhaps predictably, the media has given little coverage to Uka’s case—Mark Steyn’s piece in early March being a notable exception—or his linkage with radical Islamist ideology.
Just as the U.S. military’s report glossed over the significance of Nidal Malik Hasan’s immersion in radical Islamism to his murder of 13 military personnel at Fort Hood, the German government still maintains that Uka was a lone wolf without connections to the German Islamist scene.
Yet Uka showed no hesitation in displaying his ties to a number of hardcore German Islamists on his Facebook page. He declared himself a radical Islamist on the Internet, even as he continued to work at the Frankfurt Airport.
In spite of the historical record, Washington appears not to be seeking Uka’s extradition to the United States.
If Uka is not tried in a U.S. court, Americans shouldn’t be surprised when a German one releases him.
Benjamin Weinthal is a fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.