The 2005 U.S. State Department Human Rights Report issued last week criticizes the United Arab Emirates over its practice of indefinite detention:
Indefinite detention without charge is permitted upon judicial review.
…An anti-terrorism law passed in July 2004 allows public prosecutors to hold suspects in terrorism-related cases without charge for 6 months, an increase over the previous 3-week limit. Once a suspect is charged, terrorism cases are handled by the Supreme Court, which may extend the detention period indefinitely.
In other words, the UAE policy is actually far less severe than the Bush administration’s position. President Bush asserts that he has the authority to detain terrorism suspects indefinitely without charge — and has done so in the U.S., and at Guantanamo, Bagram and the CIA’s secret “black sites.” Also, indefinite detentions in the UAE are “permitted upon judicial review.” Enemy combatants in U.S. custody have no right to a judicial review.
Here’s what the State Department would write about the United States:
An anti-terrorism law passed in 2001 (Authorization for Use of Military Force) allows the president to indefinitely detain without charge any person he determines to be related to terrorist activity. A new law passed in 2005 (Detainee Treatment Act) means these terrorism suspects have no ability to appeal against their detention unless and until they are convicted in specially created military courts; however, the president is under no obligation to ever bring these suspects before any court.
Conveniently, U.S. policies are not covered by the report.