No Escape From Guantánamo: The Latest Habeas Rulings by Andy Worthington

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by Andy Worthington
Featured Writer
Dandelion Salad
10 Sept. 2009

A month ago, rulings made by District Court judges in the habeas corpus appeals of prisoners held at Guantánamo seemed, for the most part, to confirm that the courts were uniquely placed to deliver justice to the prisoners after their long years of imprisonment, largely without charge or trial. Even more crucially, the judges’ rulings were allowing justice to be seen to be done, unlike the secretive interagency Task Force established by Barack Obama on his second day in office, whose deliberations are, sadly, as inscrutable as those of Obama’s predecessor, even though the Task Force has at least taken the time to consult with lawyers and other experts.

As I recently reported in a series of three articles (here, here and here), despite persistent obstruction from the Justice Department, where Bush-era officials have been behaving as though Dick Cheney is still breathing down their necks, judges had, by the end of July, reviewed 33 cases, and in 28 of those had ruled that the government had failed to establish, “by a preponderance of the evidence,” that it was justified in holding the men. The judges concluded that, amongst other failings, the government was relying on information provided by dubious informers, on multiple levels of hearsay that failed to stand up to outside scrutiny, and on a supposed “mosaic” of evidence from various sources that was also unconvincing.

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