ACLU Argues Bagram Detainees Must Be Able To Challenge Their Detention

February 18, 2011 7:01 pm

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Group Opposes Government’s Effort To Dismiss Case

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WASHINGTON – The American Civil Liberties Union filed its opposition today to the U.S. government’s motion to dismiss its case challenging the illegal detention of Zia-ur-Rahman, an Afghan citizen held for over two years at the notorious Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan. In its filing, the ACLU argued that new evidence showing that the U.S. intends to hold detainees at Bagram indefinitely alters the legal analysis and requires habeas rights for Bagram detainees to be able to challenge their detention in court.

“In key ways, Bagram has become Guantánamo’s twin,” said Hina Shamsi, Director of the ACLU National Security Project. “The government should not hold detainees at Bagram indefinitely and without a fair process. The courts have a critical role to play in ensuring that the government detains people at Bagram only in accordance with the rule of law. Indefinite detention is unlawful, un-American and a stain on our reputation in the world.”

Rahman, who was seized from his home by the U.S. military during a massive neighborhood sweep, has never engaged in hostilities against the United States and was not a part of any group that engaged in hostilities against the United States. He has been held without charge, without access to counsel and without a meaningful opportunity to challenge his detentionin a court or through an independent and impartial administrative process.

The ACLU filed today’s brief in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. Attorneys on the case are Shamsi and Jonathan Manes of the ACLU; Arthur Spitzer of the ACLU of the Nation’s Capital; Jonathan Hafetz, ACLU co-operating counsel; and Tina Foster of the International Justice Network, which coordinates Bagram habeas litigation.

The brief can be viewed here:

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