BREAKING NEWS of the Gitmo variety. From Reuters:
Five of six Algerians must be released after nearly seven years of captivity at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, a federal judge ruled on Thursday.
U.S. District Judge Richard Leon ruled from the bench after holding the first hearings under a landmark Supreme Court ruling in June that gave Guantanamo prisoners the legal right to challenge their continued confinement.
U.S. President-elect Barack Obama has promised to close the prison camp after he takes office in January. Meanwhile, U.S. judges in Washington are moving ahead with case-by-case reviews of detainee legal challenges.
Now the best part of this story is that one of the five Leon ordered released is Lakhdar Boumediene. Boumediene has kicked George Bush and the criminal cabal that has assisted him in committing war crimes and illegal, immoral detentions so many times that you would think the Bushies are rented mules.
Sadly, however, the Bushies are jackasses, not rented mules, and they are still in office. What that would appear to portend is that that means Boumediene, and the other four Leon has ordered released, will likely stay detained pending appeals. The precedent was set not long ago on the Uighurs case.
January 20, 2009 cannot come soon enough for us and for those we have wronged.
UPDATE: Here is the press release issued by the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR):
Following Judge Richard J. Leon’s decision today in U.S. District Court ordering the release of five of the six Boumediene habeas defendants, Center for Constitutional Rights Executive Director Vincent Warren released the following statement:
This decision illustrates once again that the arbitrary detention of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay has been and continues to be unlawful.
Even in a courtroom that was largely closed to the public and the press, and with the detainees allowed only limited access to the proceedings by telephone, the court could find no reason to hold these men. This decision makes it clear once again that even with presumptions in its favor, the government cannot muster the barest evidence in support of its arbitrary detentions. For seven years, the Bush administration sought to avoid the courts because it had no evidence and sought instead to create a lawless prison.
We must note that justice here, however, comes seven years too late. The restoration of habeas corpus is a great achievement, and what is necessary now is for the government to give up this fatally flawed system, rescind the ‘enemy combatant’ labels slapped on recklessly by combatant status review tribunals and return the men at Guantanamo to their home countries or, for those needing resettlement or asylum, to a safe third country.
We hope a new administration makes restoring the lives of hundreds of men at Guantanamo who have never been charged with any crime or tried in a court of law a top priority. Guantanamo Bay is a failure by every measure and must be closed immediately.