Habeas Corpus

HABEAS CORPUS….P. Sabin Willett, a lawyer who represents Guantanamo Bay prisoners on a pro bono basis, writes in the Washington Post today about the Senate’s decision to eliminate habeas corpus rights for prisoners suspected of being enemy combatants:

As I listened, I wished the senators could meet my client Adel.

Adel is innocent. I don’t mean he claims to be. I mean the military says so. It held a secret tribunal and ruled that he is not al Qaeda, not Taliban, not a terrorist. The whole thing was a mistake: The Pentagon paid $5,000 to a bounty hunter, and it got taken.

The military people reached this conclusion, and they wrote it down on a memo, and then they classified the memo and Adel went from the hearing room back to his prison cell. He is a prisoner today, eight months later. And these facts would still be a secret but for one thing: habeas corpus.

Eliminating habeas corpus is a disgrace. It’s a statement that our courts are not to be trusted, that people should be judged guilty solely on Donald Rumsfeld and George Bush’s say so, and that the United States cannot survive unless its most important principles are tossed in the ash heap.

For more, go read Katherine and Hilzoy at Obsidian Wings. There’s a lot there, but you might start with this one and this one, just to get an idea of Lindsey Graham’s duplicitousness on this whole matter. He should be ashamed.