The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

James Freedland, (212) 519-7829 or 549-2666;

Government Preparing Federal Charges Against ACLU Client Ali Al-Marri, Only "Enemy Combatant" Held On U.S. Soil

Supreme Court Should Reject Abuse Of Executive Power In Al-Marri’s Case, Says ACLU


to news reports today, federal prosecutors are preparing criminal
terrorism charges against Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri, the only
individual to be designated an "enemy combatant" by the Bush
administration being held in military detention on U.S. soil. The
American Civil Liberties Union represents al-Marri in his case before
the U.S. Supreme Court challenging his illegal designation as an "enemy
combatant." A criminal indictment would not automatically resolve the
issues that are pending before the Supreme Court.

The following can be attributed to
Jonathan Hafetz, staff attorney with the ACLU National Security Project
and lead counsel in al-Marri's case before the Supreme Court:

"If true, the decision to charge
al-Marri is an important step in restoring the rule of law and is what
should have happened seven years ago when he was first arrested. But it
is vital that the Supreme Court case go forward because it must be made
clear once and for all that indefinite military detention of persons
arrested in the U.S. is illegal and that this will never happen again."

Al-Marri, a legal U.S. resident and
Qatari national, has been detained in solitary confinement at a Navy
brig in South Carolina since June 2003. He was first arrested in
December 2001 at his home in Peoria, Illinois, where he was living with
his wife and children. His case was scheduled to go to trial in July
2003 on charges of credit card fraud and making false statements to the
FBI, but the case was halted on the eve of trial when President Bush
took the extraordinary step of designating him an "enemy combatant" and
transferring him to a South Carolina military brig. At the brig,
al-Marri was detained incommunicado for 16 months and subjected to
torture and other abuse.

The ACLU's Supreme Court brief is available online at:

More information about Al-Marri v. Spagone, including legal documents, is available online at:

The American Civil Liberties Union was founded in 1920 and is our nation's guardian of liberty. The ACLU works in the courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to all people in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States.

(212) 549-2666