ACLU Applauds Federal Appeals Court Decision to End Military Detention of Ali al-Marri

June 11, 2007

Thousands Expected in Washington D.C. on June 26 to Demand Congress Restore the Right to Habeas Corpus

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: media@aclu.org

NEW YORK - Today a federal appeals court ruled that the military detention of Ali al-Marri must end. Writing for the majority, Judge Diana Gribbon Motz ordered the trial judge to issue a writ of habeas corpus directing the Pentagon to either charge al-Marri in the civilian court system, deport him, hold him as a material witness or release him.

The following may be attributed to Caroline Fredrickson, Director of the ACLU's Washington Legislative Office:

"Now that the Fourth Circuit has spoken, it seems clear that the court believes the right of habeas corpus is part of what separates America from repressive countries. To do away with this core American value makes us more like those we are fighting against. It is time for Congress to restore due process, defend the Constitution and protect what makes us Americans." Fredrickson added, "That is why thousands of Americans are coming to Washington, D.C. on June 26 to demand that Congress fix the Military Commissions Act."

"It is difficult to imagine a more complete repudiation of the Administration's strategy of treating suspected terrorists as enemy soldiers who can be subject to indefinite detention by the military without charges or trial," said Steven Shapiro, Legal Director of the national ACLU. "Today's decision reinforces the importance of judicial review as a check on executive power, and highlights the need for Congress to restore the right to habeas corpus for all Guantánamo detainees."

The court wrote in its decision, "The President cannot eliminate constitutional protections with the stroke of a pen by proclaiming a civilian, even a criminal civilian, an enemy combatant subject to indefinite military detention. Put simply, the Constitution does not allow the President to order the military to seize civilians residing within the United States and detain them indefinitely without criminal process, and this is so even if he calls them 'enemy combatants.'"

A copy of the court order can be found on line at:
www.nimj.com/documents/Al-Marri%20v%20Wright.pdf

More information on the June 26 Day of Action to Restore Law and Justice can be found on line at: www.juneaction.org

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