Court Believes In That Thing Called The Constitution

Ken AshfordConstitution, War on Terrorism/TortureLeave a Comment

Good decision:

President George W. Bush cannot order the military to seize and indefinitely detain a Qatari national and suspected al Qaeda operative, the only person being held in the United States as an "enemy combatant," an appeals court ruled on Monday.

In a major setback for Bush’s policies in the war on terrorism adopted after the September 11 attacks, the appellate panel ruled 2-1 the U.S. government had no evidence to treat Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri as an "enemy combatant." The court ordered him released from military custody.

"The government cannot subject al-Marri to indefinite military detention. For in the United States, the military cannot seize and imprison civilians — let alone imprison them indefinitely," Judge Diana Gribbon Motz wrote.

Al-Marri has been held in a U.S. Navy brig in Charleston, South Carolina, for about four years without any charges.

The ruling sent the case back to a federal judge in South Carolina with instructions to direct the secretary of defense to release al-Marri from military custody within a reasonable period of time.

The government can transfer al-Marri to civilian authorities to face criminal charges, initiate deportation proceedings, hold him as a witness in a grand jury proceeding or detain him for a limited period of time under the Patriot Act, an anti-terrorism law.