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4th Circuit Gives Al Qaeda Habeas Corpus

From an ecstatic Associated Press:

Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri

Court rules in favor of enemy combatant


RICHMOND, Va. – The Bush administration cannot legally detain a U.S. resident it believes is an al-Qaida sleeper agent without charging him, a divided federal appeals court ruled Monday. The court said sanctioning the indefinite detention of civilians would have “disastrous consequences for the constitution — and the country.”

In the 2-1 decision, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel found that the federal Military Commissions Act doesn’t strip Ali al-Marri, a legal U.S. resident, of his constitutional rights to challenge his accusers in court.

It ruled the government must allow al-Marri to be released from military detention.

Al-Marri has been held in solitary confinement in the Navy brig in Charleston, S.C., since June 2003. The Qatar native has been detained since his December 2001 arrest at his home in Peoria, Ill., where he moved with his wife and five children a day before the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks to study for a master’s degree.

“To sanction such presidential authority to order the military to seize and indefinitely detain civilians, even if the President calls them ‘enemy combatants,’ would have disastrous consequences for the constitution — and the country,” the court panel said.

Al-Marri’s lawyers argued that the Military Commissions Act, passed last fall to establish military trials after a U.S. Supreme Court ruling, doesn’t repeal the writ of habeas corpus — defendants’ traditional right to challenge their detention…

It’s a good thing that legislation last year was carefully crafted to meet the Supreme Court’s concerns.

Otherwise, foreigners — even enemy combatants — might be getting the same rights as US citizens.

Something our media watchdogs assured us would never happen.

But what the heck. It’s not like this Qatar citizen and Al Qaeda operative is dangerous or anything.

As even Wikipedia points out but the AP article could not be bothered to note:

Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri

On September 9, 2004 Jeffrey N. Rapp, director of the Joint Intelligence Task Force for Combating Terrorism submitted a 16 page sworn statement containing many allegations against Al Marri. Among the allegations:

  • Al Marri was to hack into the US banking system, and wipe out “to wipe out balances and otherwise wreak havoc with banking records in order to damage the U.S. economy.”
  • Investigator had found information about Hydrogen Cyanide on Al Marri’s laptop… “The highly technical information found on al-Marri’s laptop computer far exceeds the interests of a merely curious individual.”

But it’s not like we are at war or anything.

This article was posted by Steve on Monday, June 11th, 2007. Comments are currently closed.

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