Wednesday, November 12, 2003

Supreme Court challenge to US detention: "The US Supreme Court has intervened in the cases of David Hicks and Mamdouh Habib, the two Australians being held at Guantanamo Bay, and will hear an appeal that challenges the US president's powers to indefinitely detain foreign terrorist suspects without any legal rights.

"A decision in the case is expected next June and will affect all 660 suspects being held without charges at Guantanamo Bay. Many have been held for up to two years, with no access to lawyers or the right to family visits. They are often in solitary confinement for up to 23 hours a day. The Supreme Court will decide only the narrow question of whether the detainees have the right to bring their cases to a US court, which could then examine the legality of their detention."

"The decision by the Supreme Court took Australian authorities by surprise [no surprise there, the Howard Govt has apparently done nothing to protest this outrage].... Lawyers on behalf of the British and Australian detainees joined with counsel for 12 Kuwaitis to mount the Supreme Court challenge against the Bush Administration. The lawyers had failed in their attempts to bring petitions for habeas corpus, or unlawful detention, in the federal courts.

"The appeal to the US Supreme Court was bolstered by seven groups who submitted briefs in the case as friends of the court. These included former US prisoners of war from Vietnam and Japan who argued that the Guantanamo Bay detentions undermined the Geneva Convention and could put captured US servicemen in jeopardy."

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