Sunday, September 30, 2007


WASHINGTON, USA (September 30,2007) - Languishing on the US Supreme Court docket is a review of the case of Lakhdar Boumediene et al vs. George W. Bush et al.

The Court is being asked to review the refusal of lower courts to issue writs of habeas corpus for Boumediene and five other Guantanamo prisoners who were imprisoned by the Bosnian government and handed over to United States troops and subsequently shipped to Guantanamo.

In the briefs prepared by the attorneys for the petitioners, led by Seth Waxman, a partner in the firm of Washington-based WilmerHale, the United States government is accused of coercing the Bosnian government into arresting the six Algerian-born men under suspicion of plotting to attack the U.S. Embassy in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo.

The brief also accuses the United States of threatening to cut off diplomatic ties with Bosnia should Bosnian authorities fail to comply.

The six men were arrested in October 2001. After a three-month long investigation involving InterPol, the European Union, and U.S. Embassy officials, the Bosnian courts ordered all six cleared of all charges, and freed them on January 17, 2002. The filing claims they were then seized by Bosnian police and turned over to the U.S. military, and transported to Guantanamo where they have languished ever since.

Five of the six are naturalized Bosnian citizens, while the sixth had acquired permanent residency prior to his arrest. The Bosnian government has since asked for the release and return of all six to Bosnia.

Within the brief lies a transcript of a portion of the tribunal transcript in which one of the six, Ait Idir, attempted to defend himself before the US military tribunal. Musftafa Ait Idir stands accused of "associating with" an unnamed but "known al Qaeda operative."

That colloquy shows that it was virtually impossible for Idir to defend himself, since instead of the tribunal having to prove his guilt, Idir was required to prove his innocence.

According to the brief, the tribunal refused to even give Ait Idir the name of the alleged associate. Ait Idir responded "I asked the interrogators to tell me who this person was. Then I could tell you if I might have known this person, but not if this person is a terrorist. Maybe I knew this person as a friend. Maybe it was a person that worked with me. Maybe it was a person that was on my team. But I do not know if this person is Bosnian, Indian or whatever. If you tell me the name, then I can respond and defend myself against this accusation."

Allegedly, the members of the tribunal burst into laughter at Mr. Ait Idir's frustrated reply.

The other four petitioners are Belkacem Bensayah, Hadj Boudella, Saber Lahmar, and Mohamed Nechla.

A writ of habeas corpus is guaranteed in the Constitution of the United States, under Article I, Section 9, which states: "The privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in cases of rebellion or invasion, the public safety may require it."

The only time in which this right has previously been suspended in the United States was under Executive Order of the US President Abraham Lincoln, who suspended the right during the American Civil War.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

ACLU anyone? I see major civil rights violation here and not to mention this a clear cut case of double jeopardy I wonder why the US government is even trying to play this out these men have a right under US law to face their accuser and to be made aware of the charges against I don't know about you guys but if they get out I would sue the American government.