Judge Rules Bagram Prisoners Have Rights in U.S. Courts

Saturday, April 04, 2009
Amin al-Bakri will get his day in court after 6 years

If the Obama administration was planning to ship detainees to Afghanistan as part of its closure plans for Guantanamo Bay, then a federal judge has thrown a wrench into those preparations. U.S. District Judge John D. Bates ruled on Thursday that three detainees at Bagram air base in Afghanistan may challenge their confinement in American courts. This is a rejection of the claims by the Bush administration—which were adopted by Obama’s Justice Department—that it could detain prisoners indefinitely in a “war zone.” The ruling has important implications for the 600 prisoners being held by the U.S. military at Bagram, along with the hundreds of others still at the base in Cuba. Bates explained that the status of the three detainees, all of whom were arrested elsewhere and then shipped to Afghanistan, is no different from that of the detainees being held at Guantánamo, whose habeas corpus rights were affirmed by the Supreme Court last year.

Although reports have shown that conditions at Bagram are even worse than those at Guantánamo, the detention facility in Afghanistan, which is closed to journalists, human rights activists and lawyers, has not received as much attention and pressure from the outside world. The military is building a new prison there designed to hold more than 1,000 prisoners, four times the number held in Cuba.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
3 Detained in Afghanistan Can Take Challenges to U.S. Court (by Del Quentin Wilber and Karen DeYoung, Washington Post)
Judge Rules Bagram Detainees Can Appeal to U.S. Courts (by Daphne Eviatar, Washington Independent)


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