The Mail, February 21, 2009


Obama backs Bush on Afghan jail prisoners

The US Justice Department says 600 ‘enemy combatants’ held at Bagram air base have no constitutional rights.

By Mail On Sunday Reporter

President Obama has angered human rights groups by saying terror suspects seized in Afghanistan cannot challenge their detention in US courts.

The US Justice Department says 600 ‘enemy combatants’ held at Bagram air base have no constitutional rights. Human rights groups had hoped Mr Obama would take a different stance to George W. Bush’s.

"The hope we all had in President Obama to lead us on a different path has not turned out as we'd hoped," said Tina Monshipour Foster, a human rights attorney representing a detainee at the Bagram Airfield. "We all expected better."
AlterNet, Feb. 21, 2009

Same policy: President Obama has supported former President Bush's stance on treatment of Afghan terror suspects

He is closing the Guantanamo Bay jail camp in Cuba – but the Bagram ruling signals a more cautious approach. Last year the Supreme Court gave suspects at Guantanamo the right to challenge their detention.

Following that ruling, petitions were filed at a Washington district court on behalf of four Bagram detainees. The judge then gave the Obama administration a chance to refine the rules on appeals.

But justice department lawyers have now revealed that the new administration has decided not to change the government’s position.

A new prison is now planned at Bagram, designed to hold 1,100 more suspects.

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