Monday, June 11, 2007

Good News for the Constitution and Habeas Corpus

In uncivilized times a man or woman could be arrested, thrown in jail and left to rot. As civilization progressed certain protections were added to law so that a person in prison could be heard in court, the validity of his detention could be questioned and he could be released if the court decided that the detention was invalid. This protection is called "habeas corpus" (Latin for "you have the body").

Since 1996 and the passing of the "Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act" the right of habeas corpus has gradually been whittled away, with the biggest blow coming last year with the "Military Commissions Act of 2006".

But today there is good news: Court rules against enemy combatant policy. A federal appeals court ruled that a US resident cannot be held without being charged with something.

"To sanction such presidential authority to order the military to seize and indefinitely detain civilians, even if the President calls them 'enemy combatants,' would have disastrous consequences for the constitution — and the country," the court panel said.

Keeping a man in jail since December 2001 and in solitary confinement since June 2003 without charging him with a single crime is absolutely unacceptable in a civilized country. If he is a terrorist then charge him with whatever crime he has committed and if you don't have any proof then let him go. Is this America in the 21st Century where we have civil and human rights or Medieval Europe where we are owned by the local Baron?

No comments: