Wednesday, 4 April 2007

A detainee petition now available

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

A detainee petition now available

Posted by Lyle Denniston at 06:53 PM

Nearly two months after it was originally filed at the Supreme Court, a Guantanamo Bay detainee's petition for review has just become available in a partially censored form. The case is In re Ali (docket 06-1194), involving a member of a persecuted Chinese minority, the Uighurs, who has been held at the military prison camp for more than five years. The public version of his petition can be found here.

The petition involves 32-year-old Anwar Hassan (he is identified in court papers as Ali), who has been at Guantanamo Bay since February 2002. At the military prison camp in Cuba, he was ruled not to be an "enemy combatant" by a military Combatant Status Review Tribunal. Military interrogators had suggested that he be released and given political asylum in another country, not under Chinese rule. But a second CSRT ruled, after demands by high Pentagon officials to reconsider, that he was an "enemy combatant" who must remain detained.

After he filed his challenging habeas petition in U.S. District Court in Washington, his case was put on hold while other detainees' cases went up to the D.C. Circuit Court. Ultimately, the Circuit Court ruled -- eight days after Ali had filed his petition for review in the Supreme Court -- that Congress had taken away all habeas rights of Guantanamo prisoners. That is a ruling the Supreme Court on Monday declined to review.

It is unclear what effect the Supreme Court's Monday order will have on Ali's petition. He seeks to raise an issue that was not before the Court in those other cases -- that is, whether the Supreme Court retains the authority despite congressional court-stripping efforts to review his case as an original habeas plea.

The Court on March 16 asked the Justice Department for a response to the petition. It is due on April 16.

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