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Constitution Project Welcomes Supreme Court Decision to Review Detainee Cases

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
JUNE 29, 2007
2:36 PM

CONTACT: Constitution Project 
Corey Owens Communications Coordinator
(202) 580-6922 / cowens@constitutionproject.org

 
Constitution Project Welcomes Supreme Court Decision to Review Detainee Cases
 

WASHINGTON - JUNE 29 - The Constitution Project welcomes today's decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to consider whether Guantanamo Bay detainees may challenge their detentions in federal court despite a provision in the Military Commissions Act of 2006 that seems to eliminate the detainees' habeas corpus rights. In granting review in Boumediene v. Bush and Al Odah v. United States, the Court took the highly unusual step of reconsidering its earlier decision not to hear these cases.

Since the Court's decision to decline review earlier this year, attorneys for the detainees have obtained an affidavit from Lieutenant Colonel Stephen Abraham, an officer and attorney who had previously served on a Combatant Status Review Tribunal (CSRT). The CSRTs are the panels charged with determining whether a detainee is or is not an "enemy combatant." In describing the inadequacies of the CSRT's, Lt. Col. Abraham noted that much of the evidence presented to the tribunals "lacked even the most fundamental earmarks of objectively credible evidence."

"We are delighted that the Court has agreed to hear this case. The MCA provision eliminating the federal courts' power to hear habeas petitions from so-called enemy combatants was profoundly misguided," said Virginia Sloan, President of the Constitution Project. "Republicans and Democrats alike have condemned the provision as inconsistent with American values of justice and fairness. I hope that today's decision signifies an important step towards providing these people with a meaningful opportunity to challenge their detentions in court."

In March, 2007, the Constitution Project brought together a broad bipartisan group of former government officials and legal experts, who called on Congress to restore habeas corpus rights to non-citizens designated as "enemy combatants." In its "Statement on Restoring Habeas Corpus Rights Eliminated by the Military Commissions Act," the group notes that habeas corpus rights are most critical in situations of executive detention without charge and that these rights represent the essence of the American legal system.

For more information on the Constitution Project, please visit http://www.constitutionproject.org.

 

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