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Monday, August 04, 2008

Guantanamo habeas petition procedures bill introduced in Senate
Deirdre Jurand at 9:13 AM ET

[JURIST] US Senators Joe Lieberman (ID-CT) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) [official websites] have introduced a bill [S. 3401 summary, PDF; press release] designed to establish a procedure for all habeas corpus petitions made by Guantanamo detainees. The Enemy Combatant Detention Review Act of 2008 responds to recently raised concerns by US Attorney General Michael Mukasey [official website; JURIST news archive], who recently stressed [statement; JURIST report] that in his view it is inappropriate for the judicial branch to outline the process for trying terrorism suspects and that Congress and the Executive branch are best suited to form such policies.

The bill states that:

An application for habeas corpus filed under paragraph (1) by or on behalf of a covered individual— (A) may challenge the legality of the continued detention of the covered individual; and (B) may not include any other claim relating to the detention, transfer, treatment, trial, or conditions of confinement of the covered individual or any other action against the United States or its agents.
Under the bill, the government would have the burden of proving that the detainee is a valid enemy combatant [JURIST news archive], the government could withhold classified information essential to national security in certain circumstances even though the detainee would have some discovery rights, and detainees could not be released into the US. In a statement issued Friday, Graham specifically said that the bill affords a solution to the habeas "problem" created by the recent US Supreme Court decision in Boumediene v. Bush that "allows detainees due process without compromising national security."

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