Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Maybe the courts are not going to fix everything

Tuesday's federal court ruling that two Guantanamo Bay detainees have been legally being held for years by the U.S. government as enemy combatants raises the possibility that this country's legal system might not be able to undue all of the constitution wrecking wrought by the Bush administration. In what seems to be a setback to what seemed to be the steady rejection of policies promulgated by the Bush White House, a Washington, D.C., judge ruled that two detainees were enemy combatants and could be held indefinitely. The ruling, if upheld on appeal, means the Guantanamo Bay detentions will continue well into the term of the next president, Barak Obama. The cases of Yemeni detainee Moath Hamza Ahmed al Alwi and Tunisian Hisham Sliti are the first challenges to be fully heard in federal court since last June's U.S. Supreme Court decision that recognized that detainees had the right to file court object ions to their detentions, according to the New York Times. Al Alwi was alleged to have been a bodyguard for al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden and Sliti was an al-Qaida recruit in Aghanistan who attended a military-style training camp. But the United States refused to formally charge the defendants or to reveal its evidence in open court. Most of the court proceedings were held in secret, the Times said. Leon is the judge who ruled last month that five Algerians were held illegally at Guantanamo for nearly seven years and ordered their release.

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