WASHINGTON - September 9 - Following is a statement of Curt Goering, senior deputy executive director, Amnesty International USA, on Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals decision in Padilla vs. Hanft:
Today's decision stating that the president can label a U.S. citizen arrested on U.S. soil an "enemy combatant" and hold him indefinitely without charge is appalling, chilling and contrary to international law.
The Court's ruling shows an extraordinary and damaging deference to the executive branch's asserted ability to detain individuals arbitrarily and indefinitely in the broad and ambiguously defined "global war on terror." Today's decision has rubber-stamped the president's specious assertion that these detentions are not bound by the rule of law.
All governments should take seriously their responsibility to protect their citizens from violent attacks. But an indefinite regime of "preventative detention" flies in the face of the fundamental principles on which the U.S. justice system was founded. Suspicion and innuendo cannot be used to deny anyone due process and a fair trial as guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and international human rights law.