February 21, 2009, New York, NY,  -- Yesterday, in a response to a deadline set by U.S. District Court Judge John D. Bates, the Obama Justice Department stated that it would not deviate from the Bush administration's position that the detainees held in the prison at the U.S. Air Base in Bagram, Afghanistan, have no right to challenge the legality of their detention before a federal judge in a U.S. court.

The International Justice Network, in partnership with Stanford Law School and Yale Law School, is counsel in all four Bagram detainee cases.  IJNetwork has issued the following statement in response to the Obama administration's decision:

Yesterday's announcement, that the Obama administration has not even considered departing from the very same unjust and inhumane policies of his predecessor, is an ominous sign that human rights and the rule of law are simply not a priority of this administration.  We expected more from this President when he promised that we would not trade our fundamental values for false promises of security.  Unless there is a serious reconsideration of this issue at the highest levels of the Obama government, America will not be able to put this dark chapter of our history behind us.


Background:

Four separate challenges were filed on behalf of four Bagram detainees. On January 7, 2009, the US. District Court held a hearing to consider the government's motion to dismiss the detainees cases for lack of jurisdiction. Shortly thereafter, on January 22, 2009, the Court issued an order in response to one of President Obama's first Executive Orders indicating significant changes to the government's approach to such detentions. The Court provided the new administration with an opportunity to provide input regarding the definition of Enemy combatant for use in the Guantanamo Bay detainee habeas cases.  Today, the government responded to that inquiry by stating that it adheres to its previously articulated position with respect to whether the Court has jurisdiction over habeas petitions filed by detainees held at the United States military base in Bagram.  Based on the Government's response to his order, Judge Bates will rule in the coming weeks on whether the D.C. District Court has jurisdiction to hear the cases.

The cases are:

FADI AL MAQALAH, et al.,
Petitioners,
v.
ROBERT GATES, et al.,
Respondents.
Civil Action No. 06-1669

HAJI WAZIR, et al.,
Petitioners,
v.
ROBERT GATES, et al.,
Respondents.
Civil Action No. 06-1697

AMIN AL BAKRI, et al.,
Petitioners,
v.
BARACK H. OBAMA, et al.,1
Respondents.
Civil Action No. 08-1307

REDHA AL-NAJAR, et al.,
Petitioners,
v.
ROBERT GATES, et al.,
Respondents.
Civil Action No. 08-2143

 

Press Release : IJNetwork Responds to Obama Administration's Decision