Guantanamo Bay

The Fight Back Begins

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After Pres. Bush signed the Military Commissions Act into law, the Justice Department lost no time in informing the Guantanamo detainees who had cases pending questioning the legality of their detention that these cases were now moot.

Likewise, defense lawyers for the Guantanamo detainees have lost no time in lodging an appeal.

Detainees at Guantanamo Bay ask appeals court to overturn military tribunals law

The Associated Press
November 1st, 2006
WASHINGTON: Lawyers for dozens of Guantanamo Bay detainees asked a U.S. appeals court Wednesday to declare a key part of President George W. Bush’s new military tribunal law unconstitutional.

In written arguments filed with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, the detainees’ lawyers challenge the military’s authority to arrest people overseas and detain them indefinitely without allowing them to use the U.S. courts to contest their detention.

Attorneys for more than 100 detainees who will be locked out of the court system under the new law asked the appeals court to let them to keep their legal challenge going in civilian courts. They said the framers of the U.S. Constitution never would have permitted the government to hold people indefinitely without charging them.

Shortly after the new military commissions law was signed, the Justice Department told hundreds of detainees that their cases in the U.S. courts had been rendered moot.

If the judges should decide not to declare the law unconstitutional, attorneys offered a creative way for the court to keep their case alive. They suggested the judges rule that the law does not mean what the Justice Department thinks it means, because if it did, it would be unconstitutional.

The Justice Department has until Nov. 13 to respond to the detainees claims.

The Military Commissions Act is a remarkable for the way it was rushed into law hours before congress stood down and just weeks before contentious mid term elections. In the typical undemocratic fashion that this congress has become famous for, it was the result of last minute back room horse trading in some secret room. And the bill itself covers a lot of different subject matter, it was like giving the Pres. everything he wanted for Christmas and Birthday all in one go.

On the one hand, it removes the right of the accused, Mr. E. Combatant, to Habeas petitions; and on the other it makes lawful all the torment that the tormentors of Mr. E. Combatant can inflict upon him. It allows the Pres. to have Mr. E. tried in one of his pretend courts, even sentenced to death if that is Pres.’s desire. And it equally allows the Pres. not to have Mr. E. tried in any court, but rather, just lock him up for ever with no reason given. Sleep deprive him, freeze him to death (literally, it would be a consequence of an approved method of interrogation after all, that went slightly too far — just be more careful next time!), make him live in total darkness or never turn the lights off, put him in a container where the temperature is 138 degrees for twelve hours. Your choice, here is the menu.

Really, it is a most troublesome piece of legislation and and in a way, an appropriate testament, coming at the end of the congressional term, to the assertion that this 109th congress has completely lost its mind and its ability to reason. A sensible solution might be to cart them all off to the nut house.

Three cheers for defense attorneys lodging their appeals.


Written by mikk0

November 2, 2006 at 8:55 am

Posted in Guantanamo

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