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Posts Tagged ‘Jane Mayer The Hard Cases’

Oy vey!  The Obama Administration has some very complicated decisions to make.  Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri is the last “enemy combatant” being detained in America.  He is being held at the U.S. Navel Consolidated Brig in Charleston, South Carolina.   He has never stood trial and has been in isolation for more than five years.  In December of 2001, Marri was arrested in connection to the 9/11 attacks and was about to stand on trial, when President George W. Bush,  ordered the military to seize Marri and hold him until the “war on terror” was over.  Jane Mayer wrote, “The Bush Administration contended that America was in a full-fledged war against terrorists,  and the President could therefore invoke extraordinary executive powers to detain Marri until the end of hostilities, on the basis of still secret evidence.”

Jonathan Hafetz, a lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union, challenged the constitutionality of Marri’s case.  A lower court ruled the government has the right to detain Marri indefinitely, yet after several appeals, the Supreme Court is scheduled to hear the case in April. The Obama Administration is required to file a reply to the challenge by March 23rd.  Hafetz hopes “Obama will withdraw Bush’s executive order labelling Marri an enemy combatant, and issue a new one classifying him as a civilian.”  This allows Marri either to be charged with crimes or to be released.

Marri has spoken through his lawyers and said, “I am not asking to be taken at my word an to be released, although I very much want to go home to my family.  All I am asking for is to be treated like every other person in the United States who is accused of a crime, including terrorism, and to be given a fair trail in an American court.”

Attorney General Eric Holder is reviewing Marri’s case with an “eye toward finding alternative ways to deal with him.”  In the meantime  Marri is the sole prisoner in wing of the brig.  He has three cells, with a personal library, access to a treadmill, a computer, and watches his favorite programs, The Daily Show and The Colbert Report, on a 32-inch flat screen television.  However, Marri was on the verge of insanity after he was initially confined in extreme conditions.

The Bush White House also agreed, when transferring Marri to the brig, he could not be charged again with the same crimes  under “double jeopardy.”  Therefore, the Obama Administration will have to use a different set of charges, if they decide to charge Marri in the criminal system.

What an interesting case.   We’ll see how the Obama Administration handles this case.  Much is at stake.  Read Jane Mayer’s article, The Hard Cases.

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