Originally Posted by Nadir at LastChocolateCity.com
The Bush regime’s already flimsy case for holding 385 detainees at concentration camps in Guantanamo, Cuba fell apart this week when two military judges dismissed the cases of the only two detainees who face charges.
All charges were dropped against Canadian Omar Khadr and the case against Yemeni national Salim Ahmed Hamdan was thrown out because the Pentagon failed to establish proper jurisdiction for the tribunals at its island purgatory. But this partial victory only complicates and prolongs the incarceration of the men and boys who have been held in violation of the Geneva Conventions for five years.
From the UK’Â€Â™s Guardian:
In his decision yesterday, Col. Brownback said the Pentagon had merely designated Mr. Khadr, a Canadian citizen facing charges of murder and terrorism, as an Ã¢Â€Âœenemy combatantÃ¢Â€Â, not an Ã¢Â€Âœunlawful enemy combatantÃ¢Â€Â, the term used by Congress last year in authorising the tribunals.
The Pentagon’s lapse meant the tribunal did not have proper jurisdiction to try Mr. Khadr. Ã¢Â€ÂœA person has a right to be tried only by a court that has jurisdiction over him,Ã¢Â€Â Col. Brownback told the court.
Mr. Hamdan is accused of being Bin Laden’s chauffeur and bodyguard. In his case, US Navy captain Keith Allred yesterday said Mr. Hamdan is Ã¢Â€Âœnot subject to this commissionÃ¢Â€Â under legislation passed by Congress and signed by President George Bush last year.
In their haste to circumvent the Geneva Conventions and provide political cover for the camps at Guantanamo, Congress passed the Military Commissions Act of 2006. A majority, including Michigan’Â€Â™s junior senator Democrat Debbie Stabenow, voted to legalize torture and establish military tribunals after Mr. Hamdan won a challenge in the U.S. Supreme Court. This latest development has implications beyond the two cases that were decided yesterday because it calls into question the legal status of all the prisoners.
Yesterday’s rulings also suggest that none of the 385 other detainees at Guantanamo, held for more than five years without charge, can be brought to trial before the tribunals because they too have been designated merely as “enemy combatants”Â€Â, lawyers said yesterday.
But if you think the Bush regime will see the error of its ways and close down its much criticized facilities at Guantanamo, you’d better think again. The charges against Khadr were thrown out “Â€Âœwithout prejudice”Â€Â, which means the Pentagon can issue new charges.
The detainees who were tagged with the made-up term “enemy combatants”Â€Â are cast once again into legal limbo while the government tries to figure out how to charge them with a crime. Expect renewed calls for the closing of the camps at Guantanamo from the international community. And expect the government to take its time figuring out how to justify what has so far been deemed unjustifiable.