News and Document archive source
copyrighted material disclaimer at bottom of page

NewsMinesecurityterror-suspectsguantanamo — Viewing Item

Denies detainees court { August 1 2002 }

Original Source Link: (May no longer be active)

Judge Denies Detainees in Cuba Access to U.S. Courts

By Neely Tucker
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, August 1, 2002; Page A10

The 600 suspected terrorists being held at the U.S. naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, have no right to bring their cases to U.S. courts, a federal judge in Washington ruled yesterday in a decision that allows the government to continue holding the detainees indefinitely.

In a 34-page ruling, U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly rejected efforts by 16 captives to end the government's policy of holding them without charges, access to lawyers or trial dates. It was the first time a U.S. judge had ruled on the merits of that practice.

Kollar-Kotelly ruled that although the men may have "some form of rights under international law," such as the Geneva Convention, their nationalities and their geographic location mean that they do not have the right to press their cases in U.S. courts.

"The court concludes that the military base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, is outside the sovereign territory of the United States. Given that . . . writs of habeas corpus are not available to aliens held outside the sovereign territory of the United States, this court does not have jurisdiction" to hear the case, she wrote.

Eugene Fidell, president of the National Institute of Military Justice, a Washington-based nonprofit legal organization that is not involved in the case, said Kollar-Kotelly's decision means that "the detainees have no meaningful access to U.S. courts."

"Unless this is overturned, any submissions from inmates at Guantanamo are going to be futile," Fidell said.

Lawyers for the plaintiffs -- two British nationals, two Australians and 12 Kuwaitis -- promised to appeal.

"None of the men in Guantanamo have been accused of anything," said Barbara Olshansky, assistant legal director for the Center for Constitutional Rights, a New York-based nonprofit organization representing Shafiq Rasul, a British national, and three other plaintiffs.

"The judge's decision is in error from many perspectives. She says they have access to international law, but it isn't clear how they would ever get it if they can never see their lawyers or have any form of due process. . . . The U.S. calls countries the world over to task for these sorts of abuses."

Monica Goodling, a spokeswoman for the Justice Department, said officials there were pleased with the judge's decision.

The administration has said it will treat the Guantanamo Bay captives in accordance with policies governing prisoners of war but has refused to give them that label because it would afford them a number of rights, including the right to be repatriated after the war is over.

The plaintiffs in the Guantanamo case have been held since they were captured in Afghanistan or Pakistan by U.S. forces who were pursuing Taliban or al Qaeda members.

Others captured in the war on terror have been treated in various ways. Zacarias Moussaoui, a French national apprehended in Minnesota and charged as a conspirator in the Sept. 11 attacks, is being tried in federal court in Alexandria. John Walker Lindh, an American captured in Afghanistan, also faced criminal charges there before he pleaded guilty last month.

Richard Reid, a British citizen who tried to blow up a jetliner over the Atlantic Ocean, is scheduled to be tried in federal court in Massachusetts.

Yaser Esam Hamdi, another American captured in Afghanistan and originally taken to Guantanamo Bay, is being held in a military brig in Norfolk. He has not been charged or allowed access to a lawyer. Jose Padilla, an American apprehended in Chicago as he was allegedly scouting targets in a plot to detonate a radioactive bomb, is being held in a South Carolina military prison without charges. Both men have been designated "enemy combatants" by President Bush.

Kollar-Kotelly based her ruling on Supreme Court precedent from the World War II era. In that case, Johnson v. Eisentrager, German spies were captured by allied forces in China after the Nazis surrendered but before Japan stopped fighting.

The Germans were tried and convicted of espionage by a U.S. military tribunal in China and sent to a prison in Germany that was, in the postwar days, under the command of a U.S. officer. The Germans appealed to U.S. courts but were ultimately rejected by a divided Supreme Court. The court ruled that they could not extend the writ of habeas corpus -- a judicial determination about the legality of an individual's custody -- to foreigners held outside the United States.

That opinion, Kollar-Kotelly ruled, applies to Guantanamo Bay, a military base that the United States leases from Cuba where nearly 600 captives are being held. The Navy has announced plans to expand the prison, known as Camp Delta, by an additional 204 cells.

Staff writer John Mintz contributed to this report.

2002 The Washington Post Company

19 detainees freed { March 24 2003 }
375 detainees at guantanamo not yet charged { April 3 2007 }
Afghan 15 years old had good time in guantanamo
Afghanistan to house new guantanamo jail { January 6 2006 }
Amnesty report calls gitmo gulag of our time { May 25 2005 }
AP observes guantanamo detention center
Arabs sold to guantanamo for bounties
Attempt suicide { August 15 2002 }
Australian hicks may have struck deal { December 6 2003 }
Blair wants britons back
British ex inmates sue rumsfeld for torture
Britons on guantanamo to be released in weeks { January 11 2005 }
Camp x ray
Children held guantanamo bay { April 24 2003 }
Cia runs prison within prison { December 17 2004 }
Commander relieved { October 14 2002 }
Court hears handling of detainees
Denies detainees court { August 1 2002 }
Detained pow photos
Detainee tribunals { November 18 2002 }
Detainees have some powerful friends { November 14 2003 }
Detainees innocent { December 22 2002 }
Detainees unaswered questions { November 22 2002 }
Enemy combantant { August 14 2002 }
Executions may be carried out at guantanamo { January 25 2006 }
Fair gitmo judge is replaced by military { May 31 2008 }
Family finds guantanamo suspect since 1996 { February 25 2004 }
Gauntanamo eyes execution chamber { June 10 2003 }
Gitmo detainees of little security value { June 21 2004 }
Gitmo released then is suicide bomber { May 7 2008 }
Growth of detention base
Guantanamo bay death trials { May 24 2003 }
Guantanamo laywers fired { December 3 2003 }
Guantanamo prisoners were experimented on
Hunder strike called serious by red cross
Lawyers for 13 detainees at guantamo bay challenge detentions { July 3 2004 }
Liberty guantanamo { October 24 2002 }
Loses appeal against due process { March 12 2003 }
Not entitled hearing { March 12 2003 }
Ontheir knees [jpg]
Pentagon ponders detainee transfers { March 11 2005 }
Pentagon wants permanent guantanamo
Pow1 [jpg]
Pow2 [jpg]
Pow3 [jpg]
Pow4 [jpg]
Released documents reveal stories of prisoners { March 4 2006 }
Rice looking forward to guantanamo closure
Ruling stalls prosecution of detainee
Security breaches suicidal detainees guantanamo
Senate strips guantanmo detainees right to sue { November 11 2005 }
Sole spanish prisoner held guantanamo released to spain { February 14 2004 }
Some guantanamo captives free { May 5 2003 }
Supreme court hear case detainees guantanamo { November 10 2003 }
Supreme court will hear first cases involving detainees
Surpreme court appears split on guantanamo prisoners
Swede detained at guantanamo released { July 8 2004 }
Terror detainees will be released
Three guantanamo detainees commit suicide { June 12 2006 }
Three youths returned to afghanistan
Trials to begin for 4 inmates { August 24 2004 }
UN report alleges violations of prisoner rights
Us brings charges to guantanamo inmates { February 24 2004 }
Us could execute british citizens
US hands over french prisoners from Guantanamo
Us releases 26 guantanamo detainees { March 16 2004 }
Us suspends proceedings against britons { July 18 2003 }
Us to release 140 guantanamo bay suspects
Xray inmate saw habib dazed and bleeding { May 22 2004 }

Files Listed: 69


CIA FOIA Archive

National Security
Support one-state solution for Israel and Palestine Tea Party bumper stickers JFK for Dummies, The Assassination made simple