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Passion Islam I July 2008 ORLD NEWSW I 13
Time for real change as Supreme Court
rules on Guantánamo detentions
On the 12 June 2008 the US Supreme Supreme Court’s decision. fundamentally unfair military commission
Court recognized, in the case of “This is the third time since 2004 that the proceedings and either release or charge
Boumediene v.Bush, the right of those US’s highest court has rejected arguments and try detainees held there in US federal
detained at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba to advanced by the Bush administration that courts”, Amnesty International said.
challenge their detention in US civilian it can indefinitely detain people without President George W. Bush’s immediate
courts. Amnesty International described charge or trial, with no meaningful access response to the judgment was to side
the ruling as an essential step towards to justice,” said Amnesty International. with the four Justices who dissented
restoring the rule of law to the USA’s from the majority opinion. The President
counter terrorism measures. stated that the dissenters had been
The judgment removes a key obstacle to concerned about national security, and
vindicating basic rights ending the lawless that the administration would “study this
environment of isolation, enforced silence, opinion, and we’ll do so with this in mind,
invisibility, and unrestrained executive to determine whether or not additional
power in Guantánamo Bay. legislation might be appropriate, so that
The Supreme Court declared as we can safely say, or truly say to the
unconstitutional attempts by the American people: We’re doing everything
administration and Congress (through the we can to protect you.”
2006 Military Commissions Act) to strip the The organization expressed concern that
detainees of their right to habeas corpus. the US Government has in the past sought
The Court also dismissed as deficient to circumvent rulings of the Supreme
the substitute scheme established by Court dealing with their detention policies
the administration and Congress to and practices - notoriously introducing the
replace habeas corpus proceedings. That Military Commissions Act after the court
scheme consists of “Combatant Status ruled against it in Hamdan v Rumsfeld
Review Tribunals” (CSRTs), panels of - and its hopes that the President’s
three military officers empowered to The organisation had filed an amicus brief response is not a signal the administration
review the detainee’s “enemy combatant” in the case. will not adequately address the substance
status, with extremely limited judicial “The time has come for the US of the Court’s ruling.
review of final CSRT decisions under the government to finally bring its detention “Justice is long overdue for the some
2005 Detainee Treatment Act (DTA). The policies and practices in the ‘war on terror’ 280 detainees, many of whom have been
first CSRTs were not held until more than in line with international standards. It detained for more than six years without
two years after the detentions began. must stop all interference with the access access to any court,” said Amnesty
No judicial review of CSRT decisions of detainees to civilian courts. It should International.
had been undertaken at the time of the close Guantánamo promptly, abandon the
During the talks with the
Sunni and Shia
Shiite community, Shaikh
Al Shamri proposed that a
similar delegation of Shiites
united in prayers
would come over to one of the
Sunni Masjids in Al Khobar
next Friday. This move was
regarded as a bold initiative
In a rare gesture of unity and of Islam. “This is part of our
from the part of the majority
amity with their brothers in duty to promote virtue and
Sunnis to bury the hatchet
Islam, a delegation of Sunnis prevent vice,” he noted. The
and show their reciprocal
performed Juma prayers at new initiative on the part of
respect to fellow members of
one of the Shiite Masjids in the Sunnis and Shiites to close
the community.
eastern city of Qatif, the only their ranks received wide
This also comes as part of
part of Saudi Arabia where media coverage and some
repairing the damage caused
Shiites are a majority. foreign media such as BBC
by a statement issued two
Observers see it as an also covered it extensively.
weeks ago by some 22 Sunni
unprecedented move to soothe Shaikh Al Shamri is one of
clerics blaming Shiites. In
the feelings of alienation the shaikhs of Shamr tribe,
their statement, radical Sunni
among the Shiite minority in which spreads over a vast
clerics accused Shiites of
the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. area in various regions of
destabilising Muslim countries
The delegation, headed by Saudi Arabia and other Gulf
and humiliating Sunnis.
Shaikh Mukhlef Bin Daham Al countries. In yet another
However, the Saudi officials
Shamri, were attentive to the gesture to express the
disclosed then that the clerics
Friday sermon delivered by significance of national unity,
who issued the statement do
the well-known Shiite Shaikh Shaikh Al Shamri and those
not represent the official Saudi
Hassan Al Safar, in which the accompanying him, covered
religious establishment, and
preacher underscored the their shoulders with the Saudi
their views do not reflect those
significance of strengthening flags while they were praying
adopted by the government.
Islamic and national unity and at the Masjid, according to
closing ranks among followers witnesses.
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