President George W. Bush cannot order the military to seize and indefinitely detain a Qatari national and suspected al Qaeda operative, the only person being held in the United States as an "enemy combatant," an appeals court ruled on Monday.Motz, naturally, was appointed by The Great Stainmaker himself, William Jefferson Clinton, or more likely by his spouse, The Pantsuit.
In a major setback for Bush's policies in the war on terrorism adopted after the Sept. 11 attacks, the appellate panel ruled 2-1 the U.S. government had no evidence to treat Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri as an "enemy combatant." The court ordered him released from military custody.
"The government cannot subject al-Marri to indefinite military detention. For in the United States, the military cannot seize and imprison civilians -- let alone imprison them indefinitely," Judge Diana Gribbon Motz wrote.
I wonder if any reporter will dare mention this to her?
Al-Marri has been held in a U.S. Navy brig in Charleston, South Carolina, for about four years without any charges.
The ruling sent the case back to a federal judge in South Carolina with instructions to direct the secretary of defense to release al-Marri from military custody within a reasonable period of time.
The government can transfer al-Marri to civilian authorities to face criminal charges, initiate deportation proceedings, hold him as a witness in a grand jury proceeding or detain him for a limited period of time under the Patriot Act, an anti-terrorism law.