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GUANTANAMO BAY DETAINEES SEEK RULING

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  • ummyakoub
    GUANTANAMO BAY DETAINEES SEEK RULING Edward Alden, Financial Times, 9/3/03 http://news.ft.com/servlet/ContentServer?
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 5, 2003
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      GUANTANAMO BAY DETAINEES SEEK RULING
      Edward Alden, Financial Times, 9/3/03
      http://news.ft.com/servlet/ContentServer?
      pagename=FT.com/StoryFT/FullStory&c=StoryFT&cid=1059479533454&p=101257
      1727172


      Lawyers for the British, Australian and Kuwaiti citizens imprisoned
      by the US in the war on terror are asking the Supreme Court to rule
      that they cannot be held indefinitely at the US prison camp in
      Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.


      The case, if taken up by the court, would raise fundamental questions
      about whether the US has the legal authority to hold foreigners
      without the protection of either the US courts or the Geneva
      convention governing war prisoners.

      In strongly worded briefs to the court filed on Monday, lawyers for
      the detainees argued that if the court refuses to hear the case, it
      would sanction the creation of "penal colonies" in which foreign
      prisoners of the US have no legal rights.

      Two US lower courts have ruled that they have no jurisdiction to
      intervene because the detainees are foreign nationals being held
      outside US territory.

      Those decisions have angered the UK government, which is pressing the
      US in bilateral negotiations to ensure that the two British citizens
      held at Guantanamo Bay are given fair trials, including the
      possibility of an appeal to US civilian courts. The US has said it
      plans to bring the two before military tribunals under special rules
      that would allow no outside appeal.

      Since the September 11 2001 attacks, the US has imprisoned hundreds
      of suspected terrorists - most captured during the war in
      Afghanistan. A handful have been released but nearly 700 remain
      imprisoned at a US military base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

      Thomas Wilner, who represents the families of 12 Kuwaitis held at the
      base, told the Supreme Court that if the lower court decision stands,
      it "enables the government to establish penal colonies for foreigners
      outside the United States that are totally outside US law".

      Joseph Margulies, representing the two UK and two Australian
      detainees, argued that while US courts have accepted that the
      government can try war prisoners abroad, no administration has been
      authorised to imprison foreigners indefinitely without legal recourse.

      "The government's disdain for the principles of justice and the rule
      of law is unprecedented in our history," he wrote.

      The government has 30 days to respond to the petition, after which
      the court must decide whether it will hear the case.

      The court might be reluctant for fear of infringing on the
      administration's ability to prosecute the war on terrorism. The
      government has promised to bring the prisoners before military trials
      soon or to release them.

      "The war on terrorism can be expected to last a very long time," said
      Mr Wilner. "The standards we set now will prescribe the nation's
      behaviour for years to come," he wrote.

      -----------------------------------------------------------------
      INJUSTICE IN GUANTANAMO
      New York Times, 8/22/03
      http://www.nytimes.com/2003/08/22/opinion/22FRI2.html

      As the prisoners in Guantánamo approach their second anniversary in
      captivity, the Bush administration is finally talking about bringing
      them to trial. The delay in holding trials, and releasing the
      innocent, is unacceptable. So are the rules the administration has
      outlined for conducting their trials. The Defense Department should
      heed the calls of respected voices in the legal community, including
      that of the American Bar Association, and develop fairer procedures.

      The detainees held in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, on suspicion of
      involvement in terrorism have been in custody so long it may seem
      that they have been found guilty of something. But the detainees,
      most of them captured in the Afghanistan war, have not had trials,
      and it is not clear when they will. Relatives and human rights groups
      say many were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time, or were
      picked up based on bad intelligence.

      The administration has indicated that it intends to start putting the
      detainees before military tribunals soon. The procedures that have
      been adopted for these proceedings are unfair. The trials themselves
      may be held in secret, and lawyers can be prevented from speaking
      publicly about the proceedings. Secret trials make it impossible for
      the outside world to determine whether justice is being done...

      ALSO SEE:

      BUSH'S PERSONAL RULE OF LAW
      Nat Hentoff, Washington Times, 8/18/03
      http://www.washingtontimes.com/op-ed/20030817-105446-3423r.htm

      Immediately after Tony Blair's soaring speech to Congress on July 17,
      the prime minister and the president were asked at a press conference
      about a rift between the two countries concerning whether two
      captured British citizens, imprisoned at Guantanamo, would be getting
      a fair trial under the prospective military tribunals at that
      American base. President Bush noted that he and Mr. Blair would
      address that issue, but then the president said, without
      qualification: "The only thing I know for certain is that these are
      bad people."

      The president of the United States was, in effect, publicly
      prejudging the guilt of these defendants. It was like the trial
      in "Alice in Wonderland" when the Queen of Hearts insisted: "Sentence
      first - verdict afterwards."

      It was not surprising that the president discarded the presumption of
      innocence. After all, he alone on his authority has already
      designated two American citizens "enemy combatants," sending them to
      military brigs on American soil indefinitely - without charges,
      without access to a lawyer or to anyone but their prison guards....

      ---

      GUANTANAMO SUICIDE ATTEMPTS RISE TO 31
      Associated Press, 8/20/03
      http://www.tuscaloosanews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?
      AID=/20030820/APA/308201065

      Another terrorism suspect at the Pentagon's prison in Guantanamo Bay,
      Cuba, has tried to kill himself, the second such attempt in as many
      weeks.

      This week's suicide attempt was the 31st since the high-security
      prison opened in January 2002, Pentagon spokeswoman Lt. Cmdr. Barbara
      Burfeind said Wednesday. She said the suicide attempt happened in the
      last few days but could not be more specific.

      Twenty prisoners have tried to kill themselves, some more than once.
      None have so far succeeded.

      Most attempts occurred this year, which officials and critics alike
      have attributed to the effects of indefinite detentions on prisoner
      morale. Some of the prisoners have been held for more than a 18
      months without charges, access to lawyers or indications of whether
      or when they may be freed...

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