Good News! Court Blocks NDAA Indefinite Detention Provision

guantanamo adnan latif

Protest in Washington DC of the 9th anniversary of the Guantanamo prison.

On Wednesday, a U.S. judge ruled that a provision in the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that authorizes indefinite detention is unconstitutional, and blocked the government from using the provision to hold people without charge.

The ruling is a major win for the movement to end indefinite detention, which for over 10 years has been a hallmark of the human rights vaccum at Guantánamo and was codified in U.S. law last year by President Obama and Congress. Shamefully, the Obama administration has appealed.

Why care about indefinite detention?

Imagine you were locked up, accused of—but never charged with—a crime, and denied a fair trial to make your case. Seem farfetched?

That’s exactly what happened to Adnan Latif. He’s the Guantanamo detainee who died Saturday after being held over 10 years without charge—despite a judge’s order that he be released.

What happens next?

The case against indefinite detention in the NDAA–brought by journalist Chris Hedges, Professor Noam Chomsky and others–could go all the way to the Supreme Court. It would be interesting to see how the Court would rule, especially given that opposition to indefinite detention does not divide along party lines.

Protest against the NDAA has brought Republicans and Democrats together, because indefinite detention is a blatant assault on human rights.

And that’s why President Obama and Congress should change course and work together to repeal the detention provisions in the NDAA—Sections 1021 and 1022—and ensure that anyone accused of a crime is charged and fairly tried, or released.

If you agree, then let your Senators know— they’ll be working on the 2013 NDAA later this year:

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11 thoughts on “Good News! Court Blocks NDAA Indefinite Detention Provision

  1. Sadly, no. But the only thing stopping remedy for victims of US human rights violations is political will. The law already exists: under international human rights law, victims have the right to remedy and redress, including reparations, truth and justice. It's up to us to demand that the US government follow the law.

  2. In the Cathedral in my home city, Lincon England resides a document which was signed in the year 1215. We have all heard of it, It is called the “Magna Carta” it was signed at Runnymead by King John. Lately the document is on display at the part where It orders that no man shall be lmprisoned without trial.

    This became the basis for Habeus Corpus which has been adopted by most civilised societies…Until recently when certain governments have decided they would like to take us all back to a new dark age and the serfdom that implies.

  3. I was "locked up" by DOJ for 5 months without a criminal charge. I don't have a criminal record. I thought this would never happen to me but it did. I was not allowed a bail hearing. I was told in Federal Court that I didn't have a right to a lawyer and I didn't have a right to witnesses because I wasn't charged with a crime. When I was in jail I requested a lawyer but I was not given one. The Federal Public Defender wrote to me in jail that they were prohibited from meeting with me because I wasn't charged with a crime. I sued DOJ and it claimed that it is legal to hold U.S. Citizens without a criminal charge. Judge John D. Bates ruled this. He called it civil contempt and he claims that the Supreme Court recognizes civil contempt. However, the S.C. rulings only refer to state civil contempt for not paying child support not to federal civil contempt. I was held using the Prisoner Tracking System and the Joint Automated Booking System. DOJ claimed in Judge Bates court that both can be used without a criminal charge but that is contrary to their Notices in the Federal Register see vol 69 p 23214 and Vol 66 p 20478.

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