[JURIST] The suspected roommate of a USS Cole bomber and al-Quaida sympathizer Saturday refused to attend a hearing on his status conducted by the US military at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The detainee is accused of traveling to Afghanistan to join Taliban forces against the US and to meet with al-Quaida operatives. Hearings before a Combatant Status Review Tribunal are meant to determine whether a given prisoner can be further detained as an enemy combatant or should be freed. As of today, only one prisoner has been released as a result of the tribunal while 131 have been deemed combatants; roughly 45% of detainees have declined co-operation by refusing to appear, and the overall process has been harshly criticized by human rights activists and defense lawyers. Panels are required to make a judgment on status regardless of a suspect's presence. AP has the full story. JURIST's Paper Chase has background on the Guantanamo Bay detainees here.
[JURIST] US Vice-President Dick Cheney was taken to George Washington University Hospital Saturday afternoon after complaining of shortness of breath. The Vice-President has a history of heart troubles, including four heart attacks and a quadruple bypass surgery. Some individuals have expressed concern that the Vice-President's health would prevent him from completing his term in the Bush administration. The US Constitution provides for the replacement of the Vice-President, for any reason, in Section 2 of the Twenty-fifth Amendment. CNN has more.
4:30 PM ET - Doctors have released Vice-President Cheney following a battery of tests. The tests showed that the Vice-President had not had a heart attack, but was rather suffering from minor respiratory distress from a severe flu.
[JURIST] The US Commission on Civil Rights failed Friday to approve a controversial report [PDF] on the rights record of the Bush administration when the 8 member panel split 4-4 on the vote to adopt the draft document. The Commission came under heavy scrutiny when it published a draft of the unapproved report, heavily critical of the Bush administration, just weeks prior to the election. A motion presented during the October meeting to remove the report from the Commission's website was voted down by the body. The report stated that the Bush administration had not "defined a clear agenda nor made civil rights a priority." JURIST's Paper Chase has background. The Palm Beach Post has more.
[JURIST] Dagestani native Magomed Salikhov was brought to Russia on Saturday after his arrest in Azerbaijan for alleged involvement in a 1999 bombing in Buinaksk that killed 64 people and helped instigate Moscow's more recent military campaign in neighboring Chechnya. Two other men, including Salikhov's brother Alisultan, were convicted in 2001 for their involvement in the bombing that targeted an apartment building housing the families of Russian army officers. A date for Salikhov's trial has not been set. AP has more.
[JURIST] The imprisoned leader of Palestinian uprisings, Marwan Barghouti, has decided to run in the upcoming Palestinian elections to replace Yasser Arafat. A source close to the jailed politician said Barghouti would seek the position of president only with the backing of the ruling Fatah movement. Barghouti is serving multiple life sentences in an Israeli prison for his involvement in terrorist attacks that took the lives of five Israeli citizens. Palestinian law stipulates that elections are to be held within two months to find a replacement leader and Palestinian officials have stated that they seek a smooth democratic transition. AP has more.
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