Monday, January 31, 2005
In direct conflict with a previous decision, a federal judge just ruled that Guantanamo prisoners "can challenge their detention in federal court because military tribunals don't protect their rights": (from here)
U.S. District Judge Joyce Hens Green in Washington rejected the Bush administration's request to throw out lawsuits by 54 detainees protesting their imprisonment. Green said tribunals set up by the Pentagon to determine whether the prisoners are ``enemy combatants'' violate the U.S. Constitution and in some cases the Geneva Convention treaties on treatment of prisoners of war.
``It would be far easier for the government to prosecute the war on terrorism if it could imprison all suspected `enemy combatants' at Guantanamo Bay without having to acknowledge and respect any constitutional rights of detainees,'' Green wrote. That, she said, would violate ``the most basic fundamental rights for which the people of this country have fought and died for well over 200 years.''
Saying the administration has conceded the war on terrorism may last for generations, she said enemy combatants could serve life prison terms without ever being tried or convicted of a crime. Government regulations say enemy combatants can be held until the war on terrorism is over or until military authorities decide on a case-by-case basis it is safe to release a prisoner.