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Senator's amendment would bar detainees from challenging detention

Miriam Raftery

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An amendment to the Defense bill proposed by Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) that would prohibit suspected terrorists held at the U.S. prison in Guantanamo Bay from challenging their detentions in U.S. courts is expected to come to a vote this evening.

The measure would strip courts of all power to hear any challenge to a detainee's incarceration. Constitional rights groups oppose the amendment.

"The Graham Amendment is a last minute sneak attack upon the integrity of our Constitution and Bill of Rights," the Center for Constitutional Rights said in a statement.

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According to background materials provided by Graham's office to RAW STORY, the amendment "strengthens the review process of detainees held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba (GTMO) while clarifying that non-citizen terrorists do not have access to U.S. courts."

The detention status of all detainees at GTMO is assessed by an administrative process called the Combatant Status Review Tribunal (CSRT), a tribunal that hears witnesses and reviews evidence, Graham's office asserts. Detainees also go before an Annual Review Board.

The Graham amendment would prohibit the CSRT from considering evidence if the preponderance was obtained using undue coercion. However, it would also prohibit non-citizen terrorist suspects from having their cases reviewed by U.S. courts.

Over 160 writs of habeas corpus have been filed on behalf of 300 detainees, "clogging the court system," background material from Graham's office claims.

The Center for Constitutional Rights urges a rejection of the measure, telling Americans to "Stop this assault on the constitution" by contacting their senators immediately.

More info is available at: Obsidian Wings, Body and Soul, Talk Left.

Originally published on Thursday November 10, 2005

 


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