Saturday, May 16, 2009

Detainee Developments-- Less Hope and No Change?

France, which previously agreed to accept one Gitmo detainee, is the new home of the plaintiff in the high-profile Boumediene v. Bush case:
The United States on Friday released the Guantanamo Bay prisoner who was at the center of a Supreme Court battle giving detainees the right to challenge their confinement, an Obama administration official said.
Lakhdar Boumediene left the U.S. naval facility in Cuba Friday headed to relatives in France, said the official, who spoke on a condition of anonymity because the release was not yet cleared for announcement.
Boumediene was arrested along with five other Algerians in 2001 in Bosnia, suspected in a bomb plot against the U.S. embassy in Sarajevo. He arrived in Guantanamo in January 2002...
In June 2008, the Supreme Court ruled in a case called Boumediene v. Bush that foreign Guantanamo Bay detainees have rights under the Constitution to challenge their detention in civilian courts. On a 5-4 split, the majority said the U.S. government was violating the rights of prisoners there and that the system the Bush administration put in place to classify suspects as enemy combatants and review those decisions is inadequate.
As we noted in a previous post, the administration has made another about face in formally bringing back military tribunals:
President Obama on Friday announced plans to restart the military commissions launched under President Bush to try some suspected terrorists held at the Guantanamo Bay detention site, sparking fresh anger from liberal and human rights groups who had hoped Mr. Obama's election signaled a clean break with Bush-era policies.
Mr. Obama argued that changes he was making to the system would give detainees the due process previously unavailable to them.
And here is a related development that will also further disappoint some of the president's most fervent supporters:
The Obama administration is weighing plans to detain some terror suspects on U.S. soil -- indefinitely and without trial -- as part of a plan to retool military commission trials that were conducted for prisoners held in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
The proposal being floated with members of Congress is another indication of President Barack Obama's struggles to establish his counter-terrorism policies, balancing security concerns against attempts to alter Bush-administration practices he has harshly criticized.