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Guantanamo Bay detainees rebuked by Supreme Court

Published time: June 11, 2012 20:56
Edited time: January 11, 2013 20:24

This image reviewed by the US military shows the Commander of the Joint Detention Group walking to the "Camp Six" detention facility of the Joint Detention Group at the US Naval Station in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, January 19, 2012 (AFP Photo/Jim Watson)

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The US Supreme Court has refused to hear arguments made on behalf of seven inmates being held at the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba military prison, in turn authorizing the government to further detain captives without charge.

America’s top justices offered no comment on Monday when it was confirmed that they would not review the cases of select Gitmo prisoners.

Not only have none of the seven inmates been formally charged with a crime, but many remain unjustly detained even following a 2008 Supreme Court decision that ruled that all Gitmo detainees may have their detentions reviewed in federal court. The Court’s refusal on Monday came but one-day shy of the four-year anniversary of Boumediene v. Bush.

A study conducted by Seaton Hall reveals that 19 out of 34 detainees were victorious in their challenges during the two years that followed, but since 2010 the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has repeatedly overturned any and all federal court decisions that have yielded verdicts favorable for inmates.

In the latest episode, attorneys for seven detainees had urged the Supreme Court to weigh in on the continuous detention of the prisoners and also investigate as to how the appeals court was handling the cases; the high court declined, essentially leaving the fate of 169 foreign nationals to be decided by federal court justices and, ultimately, the appeals court that has historically opposed freeing suspected terror suspects.

More than half of the men detained — 87 — have been cleared for release under the watch of US President Barack Obama yet still remain imprisoned.

"By refusing to hear these cases, and any Guantanamo cases since its 2008 Boumediene decision, the Court abandons the promise of its own ruling guaranteeing detainees a constitutional right to meaningful review of the legality of their detention," says Vincent Warren of the Center for Constitutional Rights.

"For nearly 10 years, the Supreme Court's involvement has been essential in checking the excesses of Executive-Branch detainee policy and in clearing a path in the lower courts for justice for the detainees. The [Supreme] Court's refusal to get involved at this critical juncture permits the Court of Appeals to continue to rubber stamp the military's decision-making, undermining our constitutional system of separation of powers."

On his second day in the White House in January 2009, President Obama signed an executive order that he said would shut down Guantanamo Bay and put an end to the torturous “advanced interrogation tactics” used on prisoners under the administration of his predecessor, George W. Bush. Last week, investigative journalist Andy Worthington wrote that mismanagement over the detainment at Guantanamo Bay “ought to shock anyone concerned with fairness and justice.”