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Constitution Project: Supreme Court Affirms Habeas Rights of Americans Detained in Iraq

June 12, 2008
10:50 AM

CONTACT: Constitution Project
Corey Owens
(202) 580-6922

Supreme Court Affirms Habeas Rights of Americans Detained in Iraq
WASHINGTON, DC - June 12 - Today the Supreme Court confirmed that United States citizens detained by US forces have the right to challenge their detention, no matter where they are being held. In a 9-0 decision in the consolidated cases of Geren v. Omar and Munaf v. Geren, the Court held that American citizens held by the United States Army outside of the United States have a right to challenge their detentions in federal court. The United States government had contended that, since the United States soldiers holding Omar and Munaf were operating under the auspices of a multi-national coalition, they were not entitled to habeas corpus in US courts.

"Today's decision reaffirms our national commitment to the constitutional rights of American citizens around the globe under the protection of American forces," said Sharon Bradford Franklin, senior counsel at the Constitution Project. "Shifting political and military priorities should never compromise our fundamental commitment to individual liberty. The Court should be applauded for decisively rejecting the absurd argument that the indefinite detention of American citizens can be hidden behind a multi-national-forces fig leaf."

The Constitution Project had previously joined with the Rutherford Institute in filing an amicus curiae brief on behalf of Omar and Munaf. Omar is currently awaiting transfer from American custody to the Iraqi court system for immediate trial. Munaf was tried and sentenced to death by the Central Criminal Court of Iraq in October 2006, but that conviction was overturned by the Iraqi Federal Court of Cassation; he is being held while a lower court continues an investigation.


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