Jeremy Corbyn was criticised on Monday after footage emerged of the Labour leadership frontrunner describing the assassination of Osama bin Laden as a “tragedy.”
Corbyn, who is favorite to succeed Ed Miliband, gave an interview in 2011 to Tehran-backed broadcaster Press TV in which he questioned the then-recent killing of the al-Qaeda chief, arguing that he should have faced trial rather than death.
Tory MP’s quickly rounded on Corbyn, with one describing his comments as “frightening.” Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron also said that bin Laden's death was not a "tragedy," however backers of the leftwing firebrand suggested the Islington MP’s comments were taken out of context.
Bin laden, along with members of his inner circle, was assassinated by US Navy Seals at his compound in Abbottobad, Pakistan, on May 2, 2011.
Labour leadership contender Jeremy Corbyn is interviewed inside the Crucible Theatre, Sheffield
In the segment, Corbyn asks why President Barack Obama sanctioned the bin Laden’s burial at sea, noting it would fuel conspiracy theories. He also questioned why there was no effort to place the terror leader in the dock. It has to be “law, not war,” said Corbyn.
“There was no attempt whatsoever that I can see to arrest him, to put him on trial, to go through that process," he said. "This was an assassination attempt, and is yet another tragedy, upon a tragedy, upon a tragedy."
Corbyn continued: “The World Trade Center was a tragedy, the attack on Afghanistan was a tragedy, the war in Iraq was a tragedy. Tens of thousands of people have died. Torture has come back on to the world stage, been canonised virtually into law by Guantanamo and Bagram. Can't we learn some lessons from this? That we are just going to descend deeper and deeper.”
Conservative MP Nadhim Zahawi attacked Corbyn’s comments, telling the Daily Mail: “Osama bin Laden was a terrorist who any sensible human being in the world would want either killed or arrested. For him to call this a tragedy and appear to compare it to what happened on 9/11 is frightening.”
However, a spokesman for the Corbyn campaign dismissed the brouhaha, saying, “Jeremy is a total opponent of al-Qaeda, all it stands for.”
The life of Osama bin Laden: