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Detainees Pick up Legal Support


A group of retired federal judges, former U.S. diplomats, ex-military officials and international law experts are urging the U.S. Supreme Court to review the indefinite detention of prisoners held by the United States at Guantánamo Bay.

In a series of friend-of-the-court briefs, a lineup that includes a former assistant secretary of state and two retired judges advocate general of the Navy is asking the high court to hear the appeals of 16 terror suspects held at the U.S. Navy base in Cuba.

"Even in times of emergency, it's the duty of the courts and lawyers to preserve the rule of law," John J. Gibbons, a former chief judge of the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, said Tuesday.

The United States is holding about 660 men without prisoner-of-war status, criminal charge or access to the courts at Camp Delta, the super-maximum-security prison built last year at Guantánamo Bay...

Attorneys for 16 of the men -- 12 Kuwaitis, two Britons and two Australians -- have sought hearings on their detentions. In March, the U.S. Circuit Court of appeals for the District of Columbia denied their request, saying
Guantánamo Bay lies beyond the reach of the federal courts.

Gibbons called the assertion "ludicrous."

"We occupy that Navy base under a perpetual lease," he said. "I served there for a year as a Navy officer. I know who's sovereign there."

The detentions already had drawn criticism from the International Committee of the Red Cross, Amnesty International and others. A panel of senior judges in Britain, the administration's staunchest ally in Afghanistan and Iraq, has called Guantánamo Bay a "legal black hole…"

 

FBI's Flip-Flop on Award Unfairly Taints Reputation of Arab-American


America. It's a great country. For 14 years, Imad Hamad was a Palestinian-born immigrant, fighting to become a U.S. citizen. The Immigration and Naturalization Service was fighting just as hard to deport him.

Along the road, Hamad won the support of political heavyweights from the ACLU to U.S. Sen. Carl Levin.

At the core of the government's case was "secret evidence" withheld even from Hamad and his attorney. That evidence failed to sway a judge, and in 1999 the INS was forced to drop its opposition and welcome Hamad as an American.

Since then, as the indefatigable leader of the American-Arab
Anti-Discrimination Committee, the energetic Hamad has gone from persona non grata to celebrated citizen, a near-constant honoree and government and civic group appointee, and a 2003 Detroit News Michiganian of the Year.

But Hamad's roller-coaster ride as an American is hardly over…

 

Demands Continue for Independent Inquiry into Arar Jailing in Syria


OTTAWA (CP) - Solicitor General Wayne Easter outraged fellow Liberal MPs as well as opposition politicians Tuesday when he stonewalled their questions in the case of a Canadian deported to Syria.

Demands for an independent inquiry continued into why Maher Arar was arrested by U.S. authorities more than a year ago on his way home from a family holiday.

Advocacy groups say Arar was held in Syria and tortured until his release Sunday...

 

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