Thank You Supreme Court for Upholding the Habeas Corpus Rights of Prisoners

I sure wouldn’t want to be locked up with no rights to the access the court system, etc…very, very spooky, medieval, shameful, and atrocious. War crime material, those responsible…(Update: Whoa!!  Massachusetts School of Law Organizing Bush War Crimes Trial)

Overplaying Its Hand: By denying Gitmo detainees basic legal protections, the Bush administration forced the high court to act.

Historically, prisoners of war have no rights in U.S. courts. But even so, they are released when the war ends. The War on Terror has no foreseeable end. What’s more, since the terrorists don’t wear uniforms, it can be hard to discern who the real enemies are. Under the four 1949 Geneva Conventions, prisoners of war have some rights. But after 9/11, hard-liners in the administration decided that terror suspects brought to Guantánamo and various secret prisons around the world lacked any of the protections of the Geneva accords because they were “unlawful combatants.”

Under pressure from the courts, the Republican Congress passed laws in 2005 and 2006 giving terror suspects minimal opportunities to challenge their detention in federal court. Detainees were not allowed to have defense lawyers in initial military hearings to determine their status as enemy combatants, or to see or rebut evidence deemed secret by the government.

The potential for unfairness was so great that last week the Supreme Court stepped in and struck down the federal laws, ruling that terror detainees must be given full access to federal courts, under the ancient principle of habeas corpus, which roughly means that government cannot hold you without proving to the courts a legal basis for the detention.”

Wikipedia: Habeas Corpus

Photo from the movie The Road to Guantanamo


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