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Defending Bush, Obama admin. appeals decision allowing detainees to challenge imprisonment.

By Satyam Khanna on April 11, 2009 at 6:33 pm

"Defending Bush, Obama admin. appeals decision allowing detainees to challenge imprisonment."

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Recently, Judge John Bates ruled that some prisoners at the Air Force base in Bagram have a right to challenge their imprisonment in U.S. civilian courts, saying the detainees are “virtually identical” to detainees at Guantánamo and so they have the same constitutional rights granted in Boumediene vs. Bush. Siding with the Bush administration, however, the Obama administration is appealing the court decision:

The Obama administration said Friday that it would appeal a district court ruling that granted some military prisoners in Afghanistan the right to file lawsuits seeking their release. The decision signaled that the administration was not backing down in its effort to maintain the power to imprison terrorism suspects for extended periods without judicial oversight. In a court filing, the Justice Department also asked District Judge John D. Bates not to proceed with the habeas-corpus cases of three detainees at Bagram Air Base outside Kabul, Afghanistan.

Tina Foster, the executive director of the International Justice Network, which is representing the detainees, condemned the decision in a statement. “Though he has made many promises regarding the need for our country to rejoin the world community of nations, by filing this appeal, President Obama has taken on the defense of one of the Bush administration’s unlawful policies founded on nothing more than the idea that might makes right,” she said.

In September 2006, Obama said on the Senate floor that “restricting somebody’s right to challenge their imprisonment indefinitely is not going to make us safer. In fact, recent evidence shows it is probably making us less safe.” Glenn Greenwald notes that an ACLU lawyer is now calling Bagram “in some sense the new Guantanamo.”

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