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Voicing some concern over the government creating a “black hole” for detainees in a “law-free zone” at an overseas military base, a federal judge hinted on Wednesday that he may allow some of the prisoners the U.S. holds in Afghanistan to file court cases to test their captivity. 

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The judge is the first one among 14 federal judges in District Courts in Washington to consider whether Boumediene’s mandate for habeas challenges extends anywhere other than Guantanamo.

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Three, and maybe all four, of the detainees in the pending cases, he noted, were captured somewhere else, “nowhere near the battlefield” in Afghanistan.  If the idea of holding them indefinitely at Bagram is to keep them from returning to the battlefield, Bates said he doubted that any of them would be likely to do so, given where they were initially seized.

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There are now more than 600 detainees in the U.S. military prison at the Bagram airfield. 

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