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Friday, July 02, 2004

Into the Gulag 

Who knew? It turns out that some of the terrorists and evildoers we've been holding at Guantanamo actually have names:
Human rights lawyers filed new appeals Friday on behalf of nine detainees at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, citing this week’s Supreme Court ruling and pressing the government to justify its detention of the terror suspects or let them go.

A federal court was urged to rule that the nine detainees were being unlawfully held at the military prison. They were the first appeals since the Supreme Court’s ruling this week that the prisoners may use U.S. courts to challenge their detentions.

“This is the beginning of trying to enforce precisely what the Supreme Court mandated as a way to obtain justice,” said Jeffrey Fogel, legal director of the New York Center for Constitutional Rights. “The first step is that the government has to respond.”

Appeals were filed on behalf of two British citizens, three French citizens, a German Turk, a Jordanian Palestinian refugee, an Iraqi refugee and a Canadian, Fogel said.

More appeals are expected on behalf of other prisoners. About 600 men from more than 40 countries are being held on suspicion of links to al-Qaida or the fallen Taliban regime of Afghanistan. Most of the detainees have been at the prison for more than 2½ years, with little or no contact with the outside world. Just four have had access to lawyers . . . .

The lawyers involved have not been able to meet with any detainees in Cuba, but Fogel said they had authorization from prisoners’ families. He said the detainees are:
  • British citizens Moazzem Begg, who was captured in Pakistan, and Feroz Abbasi.
  • Murat Kurnaz, a Turkish citizen with German residency captured in Pakistan.
  • French citizens Mourad Benchallali, Nizar Sassi and Ridouane Khalid, all captured in Pakistan.
  • Jamil El-Banna, a Jordanian/Palestinian refugee residing in the United Kingdom, captured in Gambia, and Bisher Al-Rawi, an Iraqi refugee residing in the United Kingdom, captured in Gambia.
  • Canadian Omar Khadr, who was 15 years old when captured two years ago in Afghanistan.
SIDEBAR (via Avedon Carol): John Emerson of Seeing the Forest enumerates the civil liberties that have been challenged, weakened, redefined, or eradicated by the current administration, and concludes that George IV is worse than George III:
In the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and in American common law, you will read about "star chamber proceedings", "cruel and unusual punishment", the refusal of habeus corpus, "bills of attainder" and the like as the crimes of George III which justified the American revolution. But our present ruler, George the Fourth, doesn't see what the fuss was all about.

P.S.: I keep repeating this, but it remains true. Libertarians who still are considering voting for George Bush are pornographic human units with no redeeming social value.

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