July 6, 2010, New York, NY – In its continued fight to protect the human rights of three men who have been held for more than eight years without charge by the US Government at Bagram Prison in Afghanistan, attorneys with the International Justice Network (IJN) and co-counsel today filed a petition asking a DC Circuit Federal Court of Appeals to reconsider its prior decision to deny the men access to US courts.
The case, Maqaleh v. Gates, involves the detention without charge or trial of three men, Fadi Al-Maqaleh, Amin-Al Bakri and Redha Al-Najar, all foreign nationals seized outside of Afghanistan and brought against their will to Bagram Airbase, where they have been imprisoned by the US military without access to lawyers or any court of law.
The petition for rehearing was submitted to the same panel of three federal judges from the DC Circuit Court of Appeals that recently issued an opinion denying the petitioners the right to challenge the basis for their detention in a court of law. Specifically, the petition seeks panel rehearing based on information that has come to light since the case was argued to the court on January 7, 2010, including the Executive’s decision to transfer custody of Afghan prisoners held in Bagram Prison to the Afghan Government in 2011, the Executive’s decision to allow Afghan prisoners to appear before joint US-Afghan detainee review proceedings, and the Executive’s proposal to retain control over a section of the new prison on the Airbase for the sole purpose of holding and interrogating men seized from third countries around the world.
In submitting the petition, Barbara Olshansky, IJN’s Litigation and Advocacy Director, noted that “it is fitting that the request was submitted on the heels of the July 4th weekend, given the nation’s historical commitment to the fundamental guarantees of the right to personal liberty and the right of access to justice. We hope the appellate court will reconsider in order to fulfill its constitutional role in our system of checks and balances, which is the surest safeguard of liberty.”