Tuesday, February 1

WRITS OF HABEAS CORPUS FOR GUANTANAMO DETAINEES

In a setback for President Bush, the New York Times reports this morning that a Federal judge in Washington has ruled that the reach of federal law extends to the U.S. military base in Guantanamo, Cuba, and to the detainees being held their by the Bush Administration as war combatants in the war on international terrorism. Judge Joyce Green of the Federal District Court rejected the Bush Administration's contention that federal court judges could not issue writs of habeas corpus.

In a further slap to the administration, she also ruled that military tribunals that had been established over the summer to review detainees' cases are unconstitutional. Most provocative of all, however, may be that she has raised the issue in law of whether or not information upon which the government is claiming the right in holding many of the detainees could have been obtained by illegal means (e.g., torture), which may open up a whole new area of contention.

Close to 545 detainees are jailed at the Guantanamo base.