The Supreme Court this week declined to hear a case challenging the detention of prisoners at the Guanatanamo Bay naval prison, some of whom have been held for almost five years, but left open the possibility of an appeal in the future. The case challenged Congress’s authority to strip alien prisoners of their habeas corpus rights.
People For the American Way President Ralph G. Neas issued the following statement:
“By deciding not to hear this case now, the Supreme Court is wavering in its responsibility to protect one of the most fundamental safeguards of liberty, but we still have hope that the court will someday act to overturn the worst provisions of the Military Commissions Act. The statute denies habeas rights to certain prisoners without any meaningful alternative, and the lower court’s decision plainly ignores previous Supreme Court opinions. The Supreme Court has already heard two cases surrounding the basic legal protections for prisoners at Guantanamo, and in both cases it upheld the right of even these detainees to seek habeas relief.
“Habeas corpus is among the most basic rights that any person has. The Bush administration’s decision to ignore these rights and Congress’s decision to follow suit are among the lowest points in our nation’s history. People For the American Way will continue to fight to restore habeas relief in the courts and in Congress.”