Short shrift for Guantanamo inmates

The US supreme court has decided not to revisit, for now, the issue of whether Guantanamo detainees have a right to a civil court action to declare their indefinite detention unlawful.

Short shrift for Guantanamo inmates

The US supreme court has decided not to revisit, fornow, the issue of whether Guantanamodetainees have a right to a civil court action to declare their indefinitedetention unlawful, although several judges said they will be sympatheticto future requests.

Three ofthe judges said on Monday they wanted to intervene in the matter immediately,while two others said they might vote to do so later.

JusticeStephen Breyer, who dissented, wrote that upholding the detainees' legalposition would have prevented an additional year or more of imprisonment.

Breyer'sviews were echoed by Justices David Souter and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Breyer andSouter said they would have heard the case on a fast track, as the detaineeshad requested.

Ittakes four votes among the nine judges to accept a case.

'Justicedenied'

TomWilner, a Washington lawyer who hasrepresented Guantanamodetainees since May 2002, said: "This is a perfect example of justicedelayed is justice denied.

"Allthese people ever wanted was a fair hearing."

Wilner isrepresenting 39 Guantanamoinmates to challenge their detention.

The US constitutionprovides for a habeas corpus review that protects people from unlawfulimprisonment.

Monday'sdecision comes in spite of two earlier Supreme Court rulings affording thedetainees legal protection.

Some ofthe estimated 385 prisoners have spent more than five years at the US naval base in Cuba, where military panels assessinmates to see if their detentions are justified.

None ofthe prisoners has been tried in a civil court.

A Columbia district appealscourt stripped federal courts of their ability to hear such challenges inFebruary.

But itnow has to review the work of military panels that have found each of thedetainees to be an enemy combatant, raising the possibility of the supremecourt revisiting the same cases it rejected on Monday.

Mixedreaction

Thedecision has drawn support and criticism. Chris Dodd, a Democrat senator,called the court's refusal to hear the case "misguided" and said ithighlights the urgency for congressional action.

Hesaid basic rights must be restored to the detainees and the Geneva Conventionsmust be adhered to.

At thePentagon, Navy Commander Jeffrey Gordon said Guantanamo is reserved for "the mostegregious terror suspects".

However,only 10 have been charged with a crime.

MichaelRatner, president of the Centre for Constitutional Rights, said: "We'redisappointed and for us this is a delay that is unconscionable."

Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16
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