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Court Limits Guantanamo Bay Detainees' Rights

By Kamika Dunlap on January 14, 2010 1:15 PM

Guantanamo Bay detainees now officially have limited rights in court.

A three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit recently held that presidential war powers to detain suspected terrorists trump the international law of war.

As reported by the New York Times, this decision effectively limits the rights of those held in Guantanamo, and perhaps others suspected terrorists and war fighters taken into U.S. custody.

The decision, if it is not reversed by the Supreme Court, could apply to all cases involving detainees at Guantánamo Bay. In addition, accused foreign terrorists and war fighters in U.S. custody will have a more difficult time challenging their detention in the wake of the key ruling.

The ruling involved an appeal case by Ghaleb Nassar al-Bihani, a Yemeni captured in Afghanistan and held since 2002 at the Guantanamo Navy Base in Cuba.

With the help of lawyers, al-Bihani filed a "habeas" petition in federal court, contesting his detention as not permitted under international law.

As previously discussed, the White House recently announced it will pursue plans to close Guantanamo Bay detention center and suspend sending any Guantanamo detainees like al-Bihani back to Yemen.

Judge Janice Rogers Brown said the president's power to wage war and detain captured fighters was proper under the Constitution, and was not limited by international law.

Basically, this means now the Obama administration will have a stronger position when opposing a court order to release a terrorism suspect.

As a result, the ruling could serve as a controlling guide for dozens of similar appeals pending in federal court in Washington.

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