Lawyers lobby US legislators to return habeas rights to Guantanamo detainees

[JURIST] About 70 lawyers representing some of the top firms in the US Tuesday lobbied various congressional offices to restore the writ of habeas corpus to Guantanamo Bay detainees brought before military tribunals. The lawyers, who also included public defenders and sole practitioners, held over 50 meetings with Washington legislators, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California), to draw attention to the issue.

The effort coinciding with annual Law Day [event website] celebrations came one day after the US Supreme Court declined [JURIST report] to hear a lawsuit brought by two Guantanamo Bay detainees challenging the legality of Congress' decision to deny habeas challenges by suspected terrorists under the Military Commissions Act of 2006 [PDF text]. In early April, the Court declined to hear [JURIST report] another case brought by other Guantanamo detainees on whether those prisoners could challenge their detention in US federal court. Various legislative projects to reinstate the right of habeas corpus are still pending. In January, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) introduced the Habeas Corpus Restoration Act of 2007 [S.185 text] to restore the right to suspects brought before military commissions. In February, Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT) introduced the Restoring the Constitution Act of 2007 [S.576 text], which would restore habeas corpus rights, ban evidence obtained through torture and require US compliance with the Geneva Conventions. The Hill has more.

 

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