February 15, 2011, NEW YORK: The legal case of three detainees who have been held without charge or trial for more than eight years at the U.S. Airbase in Bagram, Afghanistan will be allowed to proceed in federal court, according to a ruling issued today by Judge John D. Bates of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The case, Al-Maqaleh v. Gates, was filed on behalf of three foreign nationals, Fadi Al-Maqaleh, Amin-Al Bakri and Redha Al-Najar, who were seized from various countries around the world and illegally taken to Bagram during the Bush Administration. The Obama Administration has continued to hold these men virtually incommunicado in Afghanistan, without access to their attorneys, arguing that non-U.S. citizens have no human rights enforceable by U.S. courts when held outside the United States or Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
The International Justice Network and co-counsel originally filed petitions on behalf of these three men in 2006 -- seeking to challenge the legality of their detention through habeas corpus. In 2009, Judge Bates issued a landmark ruling in favor of the detainees - finding that they had a Constitutional right to have their cases heard in U.S. courts. However, the Obama Administration appealed, and in May 2010, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals sided with the government and dismissed the case. IJN and its co-counsel then requested a rehearing before the Court of Appeals based on the discovery of important new evidence -- including revelations that the Obama Administration has established a permanent detention facility at Bagram for the sole purpose of holding and interrogating men seized illegally from third countries around the world, and that contrary to what had been alleged by the government, one of the petitioners, Fadi al-Maqaleh, was tortured at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq prior to being transferred to Bagram.
In June 2010, the Court of Appeals denied the request for rehearing, but allowed petitioners to present their new evidence to the District Court. IJN and co-counsel then sought to file Amended Petitions on behalf of each of the petitioners, but the government opposed their request -- arguing to the Court that it should not consider the new evidence, but should simply dismiss the case for lack of jurisdiction. Today, Judge Bates issued a ruling in favor of the detainees -- allowing them to amend their petitions and present additional arguments regarding the Court's jurisdiction.