Friday, October 26, 2012

Review: Extraordinary Rendition by Paul Batista

by:  Paul Batista
published by:  Astor + Blue Editions
publish date:  October 1, 2012

When Ali Hussein, suspected terrorist and alleged banker for Al Qaeda, is finally transported from Guantanamo Bay to the US mainland to stand trial, many are stunned when Byron Carlos Johnson, a pre-eminent lawyer and son of a high-profile diplomat, volunteers to represent him. On principle, Johnson thought he was merely defending a man unjustly captured through rendition and water-boarded illegally. But Johnson soon learns that there is much more at stake than one man’s civil rights.

Ali Hussein immigrated from Syria to the United States looking for a better life.  He became an accountant and started a family.  Then on a trip to Germany he was captured by the US Government, suspected of being a money handler for Al Qaeda.  He was held for over 9 years without charges being filed.  In that time he was tortured and questioned endlessly.

When he was brought to trial, Byron Johnson volunteers to represent him.  This is just the beginning of troubles that Byron never imagined.  The Prosecution for the United States begins to infiltrate Bryon's life at every level possible. 

There were a couple of issues that I had with this book.  One had to do with Ali Hussein.  I never really understood if he was a terrorist or not.   I guess it doesn't really matter, your lawyer's job isn't to question your guilt or innocence.  Also there was a question whether or not Ali was using Byron to pass account information along to his Imam via Koran passages.   I was confused as to whether or not this was true or it was just an accusation.  I was also not particularly pleased with Bryon and his woman hopping.  He went from falling all over Christina to sleeping with Helen like it was nothing. 

Overall it was a pretty good book.  It was better than I was expecting.  The topic of rendition is a pretty terrifying one, so it's interesting to explore it from a safe distance.

About the Author:  Paul Batista, novelist and television personality, is one of the most widely known trial lawyers in the country. As a trial attorney, he specializes in federal criminal litigation. As a media figure, he is known for his regular appearances as guest legal commentator on a variety of television shows on Court TV, CNN, HLN, and WNBC. He also appeared in the HBO movie, You Don't Know Jack, starring Al Pacino. A prolific writer, he authored the leading treatise on the primary federal antiracketeering statute, Civil RICO Practice Manual, which is now in its third edition (Wiley & Sons, 1987; Wolters Kluwer, 2008). He has written articles for the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and the National Law Journal. His debut novel, Death's Witness, was awarded a Silver Medal by the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA). Batista is a graduate of Bowdoin College, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, and Cornell Law School. He's proud to have served in the United States Army.

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