Monday, November 14, 2005

Habeas Corpus

I posted a week or so ago about journalists who have been detained at GitMo. Well, my FIL emailed me this editorial from the Denver Post. It is a must read, made especially relevant by Sen. Lindsay Graham's (R-SC) proposed amendment to the Defense Spending bill which would prohibit federal courts from hearing Habeas Corpus petitions from GitMo detainees. The relevant language is here:

"(e) No court, justice, or judge shall have jurisdiction to consider -
(1) An application for a writ of habeas corpus based on policies established by the Secretary of Defense under Section 1071 (a) of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2006 filed by an alien who is detained by the Secretary of Defense, or
(2) any other action, challenging any aspect of the detention of an alien who is detained by the Secretary of Defense as an enemy combatant."

The Writ of Habeas Corpus has been around since the Magna Carta. That's right, even marry olde England thinks the right to know what you're charged with is important. But beware, this is just the starting point. Republican senators want to pass legislation that would prohibit the Supreme Court from hearing habeas writs from death row inmates! Presumably the Graham amendment could not apply to American citizens labeled "enemy combatants," but I'm not positive on that. Regardless, the Graham amendment is a travesty, compounded by the fact that its being tacked on to an appropriation bill, which means it gets to bypass committee and allows for very limited debate.


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