September 2, 2010, New York, NY. The human rights group the International Justice Network and co-counsel filed papers recounting rendition and torture today in federal court in Washington, D.C. on behalf of three men who have been held at Bagram prison in Afghanistan without charge or trial for nearly eight years. Continuing the men's four-year struggle to be allowed to challenge their detention, the papers seek permission to amend their original habeas corpus petitions to introduce disturbing new evidence regarding their treatment. The new information includes 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 one of the petitioners, Fadi al-Maqaleh, was tortured at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq prior to being transferred to Bagram prison.
The case, Maqaleh v. Gates, involves the detention of three foreign nationals, Fadi Al-Maqaleh, Amin-Al Bakri and Redha Al-Najar, who were seized outside of Afghanistan and arbitrarily brought to Bagram during the Bush administration. The Obama administration has continued to hold the men virtually incommunicado in Afghanistan without access to their attorneys, arguing that non-US citizens have no human rights enforceable by US courts.
Today’s filing in the district court follows a similar motion for rehearing of the case filed in the DC Circuit Court of Appeals' last month. On July 23, the Court of Appeals denied the earlier request for rehearing, but directed the petitioners to file any new evidence before the district court. The Obama administration has indicated that it plans to oppose the request.
IJNetwork Litigation Director, Barbara Olshansky, said of today's filings: "With each passing day, we find out more information about how our clients were horribly mistreated while in U.S. detention. Both the courts and the world must take notice of what has been done to men like Fadi al-Maqaleh, Amin al-Bakri, and Redha al-Najar, who have never harmed America or its allies. It is time for the Obama Administration to do the right thing and give these men their day in court so they can finally return home to their families."
Ramzi Kassem, a law professor at the City University of New York and counsel for Mr. al-Bakri said: “When it comes to Bagram, the more things change, the more they stay the same. The Obama Administration, like the Bush White House before it, is trying to avoid public and judicial scrutiny over what it does at Bagram. But our view remains unchanged—if there is no evidence against our clients, they must be released.”