Tuesday, November 23, 2004
The legal rights of terrorists
Over the last year the courts have given unprecedented rights to alien enemy combatants. Bruce Fein urges congress to address this issue:
Congress should enact legislation denying alien enemies captured in the war against global terrorism the right to challenge the legality of their detention in federal courts by writs of habeas corpus. Congress should also by statute ratify President George W. Bush's orders creating military commissions for the trial of enemy aliens accused of war crimes, and a Combatant Status Review Tribunal to vet Guantanamo Bay detainees to verify their status as enemy combatants. The proposed laws would both help to defeat the uniquely savage global terrorist enemy while conferring more liberty than would be lost.Without legislative intervention, Henry Mark Holzer outlines where the courts are headed:
If, under the Supreme Court’s decisions in Hamdi, alleged enemy combatants, wherever held by the United States, are entitled to due process, and under Rasul they are entitled to seek habeas corpus relief from federal district courts, and under Odah they are entitled to unfettered representation by counsel, then, next there will be court decisions entitling them to the full range of constitutional criminal procedural guarantees under the Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Amendments:
- no unreasonable searches and seizures;
- warrants issued only on probable cause specifically describing the places to be searched and the things to be seized;
- no double jeopardy;
- no self-incrimination;
- speedy and public jury trials;
- confrontation by witnesses;
- compulsory process for obtaining witnesses, appointed counsel;
- Miranda warnings, and much more.
The Hamdi, Rasul and Odah decisions are a travesty of justice and national security, and a potentially fatal one for the United States.