Appeals Court Reinstates Indefinite Imprisonment without Trial
The military detention law allowing terrorism suspects, including Americans, to be held indefinitely without trial has been reinstated by a federal appeals court.
A key provision of the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) was put on hold by U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest three weeks ago. Section 1021(b)(2), allows the U.S. military to hold anyone accused of having “substantially supported” al-Qaeda, the Taliban or “associated forces” until “the end of hostilities.” Forrest, an appointee of President Barack Obama, wrote that “There can be no doubt, then, these terms are vague,” referring to “associated forces,” “substantially supported” and “directly supported.”
The Obama administration immediately fought back against the decision and convinced a three-member panel of judges from the Second Circuit Court of Appeals to overrule Forrest’s ruling. Like Forrest, all three judges, Denny Chin, Raymond Lohier and Christopher Droney, were appointed by President Obama.
The appellate panel ruled that the government had clarified in a court brief that the plaintiffs themselves would be “in no danger whatsoever of ever being captured and detained by the U.S. military.” The judges also said ‘the statute does not affect the existing rights of United States citizens or other individuals arrested in the United States.”
The plaintiffs, known as the Freedom Seven, include journalist Christopher Hedges, MIT professor Noam Chomsky and Pentagon Papers source Daniel Ellsberg.
-Noel Brinkerhoff, David Wallechinsky
To Learn More:
Military Detention Law Extended as U.S. Appeals Finding Against It (by Adam Klasfeld, Courthouse News Service)
Why You Should Be Outraged About The Ruling To Keep The NDAA Indefinite Detention Clause In Effect (by Michael Kelley, Business Insider)
Christopher Hedges v. Barack Obama (Second Circuit Court of Appeals) (pdf)
Obama Administration Immediately Fights Back to Retain Indefinite Detention without Trial (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)
Federal Judge Halts Indefinite Detention of Suspects without Trial (by David Wallechinsky and Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)
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