Ali al-Marri Update: Reversing the Bush Administration’s War on Terror Policy
In a reversal of the Bush Administration’s effort to detain people around the globe, last week, a federal appeals court in Virginia, which is a very conservative court ruled that the government cannot subject Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri to indefinite detention, though he was subject to indefinite detention by a 2003 presidential order.
A legal US resident–though not a citizen–al-Marri had studied computer science at Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois in 1991, and returned on 10 September 2001 to pursue post-graduate studies, bringing his family–his wife and five children–with him. Three months later he was arrested and charged with fraud and making false statements to the FBI, but in June 2003, a month before he was due to stand trial for these charges in a federal court in Peoria, the prosecution dropped the charges and informed the court that he was to be held as an “enemy combatant” instead.
As some listeners may recall, here on Law and Disorder we’ve discussed Ali al-Marri’s case and how he was held incommunicado, indefinitely in a military prison without charges. He’s been in solitary confinement for more than 2 years, no access to reading material, except the Quran. According to his lawyers, he was constantly harassed, abused and any medical treatment he received was very poor.
Now, because the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit ruled that U.S. residents cannot be locked up indefinitely as “enemy combatants” without being charged, al-Marri can challenge his detention. Al-Marri is the only “enemy combatant” still in detention without charge in the United States itself.
Guest – Jonathan Hafetz, Litigation Director of the Brennan Center’s Liberty and National Security Project and the lead counsel for Al-Marri. He is the author of numerous articles in scholarly and popular publications, including the Yale Law Journal, California Western Law Review, and Fordham Journal of International Law, Legal Affairs, and the New York Law Journal
Off the Record: U.S. Responsibility for Enforced Disappearances in the War on Terror
Children as young as seven years old detained in secret CIA prisons are some of the startling details unearthed by a recent report drafted by six human rights groups including Amnesty International, the Center for Constitutional Rights and the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice at the New York University School of Law.
The report, titled “Off the Record: U.S. Responsibility for Enforced Disappearances in the War on Terror,” details aspects of the CIA detention program that the US government has actively tried to conceal, such as the locations where prisoners may have been held, the mistreatment they endured, and the countries to which they may have been transferred. The report names 39 people believed to be disappeared from countries such as Egypt, Kenya, Libya, Morocco, Pakistan, and Spain.
Guest – Meg Satterthwaite, director of the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice at the (NYU) Law School. Satterthwaite has published reports and articles on human rights topics in scholarly and advocacy contexts. Her research interests include human rights in the “war on terror”; gender, sexuality and human rights; and the human rights of migrants. She is Co-Chair of the International Human Rights Interest Group of the American Society of International Law, a member of the Board of Directors of Amnesty International USA, and a member of the International Law Committee of the City Bar of New York.