The US court of appeals in Washington ruled Friday that prisoners held at a US military base in Bagram, Afghanistan cannot challenge their case in US civil courts, even though Guantanamo detainees can.
US prisoners are able to challenge their detention under the civil process known as habeas corpus, and in 2008 the US Supreme Court extended those rights to detainees held at the US military base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
But in a unanimous decision overturning a lower court ruling, the three judge appeals panel found that those US constitutional rights could not be transferred abroad to the detainees at Bagram.
The district court recognized “that the detention is within the sovereign territory of another nation, which itself creates practical difficulties.
“While we cannot say that extending our constitutional protections to the detainees would be in any way disruptive of that relationship, neither can we say with certainty what the reaction of the Afghan government would be,” the court said.
The judges, in their response to an appeal by two Yemeni and a Tunisian detainee, contrasted the Afghan facility with the camp at Guantanamo.
It noted that the United States has maintained control of Guantanamo Bay for over a century, while at Bagram “there is no indication of any intent to occupy the base with permanence,” and as such US rights cannot be transferred to it.
Senator Lindsey Graham described the ruling as “a big win,” and said the court’s judgement was a “well-reasoned, strongly supportive statement of our men and women serving overseas fighting the war on terror.”
Allowing non-citizen enemy combatants “detained in a combat zone access to American courts would have been a change of historic proportions,” he said in a statement, adding that it “simply makes no sense and would be the ultimate act of turning the war into a crime.”
The Bagram prison was established after the US-led invasion of Afghanistan to hold prisoners taken during that campaign, which toppled the country’s Taliban rulers. Some 675 detainees are currently held there.
Last year new buildings were constructed on the base, the biggest US military facility in Afghanistan, to replace decades-old prison facilities that drew criticism from rights groups and the Afghan government.
Source: The Raw Story
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