U.S. Administration: Detainees have
By Matt Apuzzo
Associated Press Writer
11/14/06 "AP" -- -- The Bush administration said Monday that
Guantanamo Bay prisoners have no right to challenge their
detentions in civilian courts and that lawsuits by hundreds
of detainees should be dismissed.
In court documents filed with the U.S. Court of Appeals for
the District of Columbia Circuit, the Justice Department
defended the military's authority to arrest people overseas
and detain them indefinitely without access to courts.
It's the first time that argument has been spelled out since
President Bush signed a law last month setting up military
commissions for the thousands of foreigners being held in
U.S. prisons abroad.
Bush hailed the law as a crucial tool in the war on
terrorism and said it would allow prosecution of several
high-level terror suspects.
Human rights groups and attorneys for the detainees say the
law is unconstitutional. Prisoners normally have the right
to challenge their imprisonment.
The Justice Department said Monday that the detainees have
no constitutional rights because they are being held
overseas. Giving military detainees access to civilian
courts "would severely impair the military's ability to
defend this country," government attorneys wrote.
"Congress could have simply withdrawn jurisdiction over
these matters and left the decision of whether to detain
enemy aliens held abroad to the military," the Justice
Instead, Congress set up a military commission structure
establishing "unprecedented" levels of review for detainees,
the attorneys wrote.
On the Net: Justice Department: http://www.usdoj.gov
Copyright © 2006 The Associated Press.