Court Closes Avenue For Guantánamo Detainees To Challenge Their Detention

January 9, 2009 12:00 am

Media Contact
125 Broad Street
18th Floor
New York, NY 10004
United States

CONTACT: (212) 549-2666;

NEW YORK – A panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit today closed an avenue for Guantánamo Bay detainees to challenge their detention, shutting down approximately 175 pending cases in that court. The court struck down a provision of the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005 that allowed detainees to challenge their status as “enemy combatants” as determined by the Pentagon’s Combatant Status Review Tribunals, a status that allows for their indefinite detention at Guantánamo.

The only avenue left for detainees to challenge their detention is to file habeas corpus challenges in district courts, a fundamental constitutional right upheld by the Supreme Court last June in Boumediene v. Bush. While the habeas option is absolutely critical, the Supreme Court said in Boumediene that it was also not the sole avenue for redress.

The following can be attributed to Jonathan Hafetz, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union National Security Project:

“After three years of government stonewalling, the appeals court has unfortunately just taken away one of the avenues for the Guantánamo detainees to finally get a shot at justice in America.”

Sign up to be the first to hear about how to take action.

Learn More About the Issues in This Press Release