The American Civil Liberties Union has condemned a Wednesday decision by a federal judge that prevents its access to unredacted records from the Bush administration related to the detention of 14 suspected "enemy combatants" at Guantánamo Bay.
America’s largest detention facility is here in Iraq’s southern desert, and it sits at the center of one of the most complex debates in the transition from American military rule to full Iraqi sovereignty: what to do with the 5,000 Iraqi prisoners whom the United States military considers a threat to the hard-fought and still fragile calm in Iraq?
Less clear, however, is what will happen to those already in detention — about 17,000 people in all.
Since then, according to court documents reviewed by The Associated Press, guards have struggled with him repeatedly, at least once using pepper spray, shackles and brute force to drag him to a restraint chair for his twice-daily dose of a liquid nutrition mix force-fed through his nose.
Former generals and U.S. Justice Department officials filed briefs Thursday urging the U.S. Supreme Court to review the Bush administration's authority to indefinitely detain the only suspected enemy combatant held on U.S. soil.
"This unprecedented expansion of executive authority within the borders of the United States is not only at odds with more than 200 years of history, but it is wholly unnecessary," argued former judges and officials, including former U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno and former FBI Director William Sessions. "The federal government is eminently capable of both protecting our nation's security and safeguarding our proud tradition of civil liberties."
Lawyers sparred Thursday over how close a suspected terrorist must be to attacking the United States before he legally can be held without charges as an enemy combatant.
The federal judge overseeing the legal debate, which largely will decide the fate of hundreds of men being held at the U.S. Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, said the issue "should have been resolved a long time ago."
The court said there was "no rational basis" for the US failure to reveal the contents of documents essential to the defence of Binyam Mohamed, who faces the death penalty.
The Pentagon said Tuesday it has dropped war-crimes charges against five Guantanamo Bay detainees after the former prosecutor in their cases complained that the military was withholding evidence helpful to the defense.
None of the men will be freed, and the military said it could reinstate charges later.
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