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Al-Marri Case Tests Administration Attempt to Strip Rights of Legal Residents in the United States

Human Rights Watch and Human Rights First have filed an amicus brief in al-Marri’s case, highlighting the ways in which al-Marri’s prolonged detention without charge violates the obligations of the United States under international human rights law. Human Rights Watch and Human Rights First will be filing a supplemental amicus brief in response to the government’s motion to dismiss.

Human Rights Watch and Human Rights First have filed an amicus brief in al-Marri’s case, highlighting the ways in which al-Marri’s prolonged detention without charge violates the obligations of the United States under international human rights law. Human Rights Watch and Human Rights First also filed a supplemental amicus brief in response to the government’s motion to dismiss.

Background

In 2003, Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri, a Qatar citizen lawfully in the United States on a student visa, was weeks away from trial for credit card fraud when the Bush administration unilaterally declared him an “enemy combatant,” removed him from the criminal justice system and hauled him to a military brig in South Carolina. He was held incommunicado for 16 months until attorneys acting on his behalf finally were allowed to see him. He still has not been permitted to have any contact with his wife, other family members or friends.
Al-Marri – via a habeas corpus claim – has challenged the president’s authority to unilaterally label him an “unlawful enemy combatant” and to hold him indefinitely without charges in military custody.

A federal district court in South Carolina ruled against al-Marri, who then appealed the ruling to the federal appeals court for the Fourth Circuit.
The administration has now moved to dismiss al-Marri’s case before the Fourth Circuit, arguing that the Military Commissions Act strips federal court jurisdiction over all non-citizens determined by the president to be an “unlawful enemy combatant” – regardless of where they were arrested or where they are detained. Link to Government’s Brief.

Other documents from the appellate case include:

Amicus Briefs

Amicus Brief of Human Rights Watch and Human Rights First

Amicus Brief of Former Senior Department of Justice Officials

Amicus Brief of Specialists in the Law of War

Amicus Brief of the Center for National Security Studies, American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, Asian American Justice Center, and the National Immigrant Justice Center

Amicus Brief of Professors of Evidence and Procedure

Amicus Brief of US Criminal Scholars and Historians

Amicus Briefs Opposing the Motion to Dismiss

Amicus Brief of Human Rights Watch and Human Rights First

Amicus Brief of the Center for National Security Studies, American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, Asian American Justice Center, and the National Immigrant Justice Center

Amicus Brief of Professors of Constitutional Law and Federal Jurisdiction

Other Documents

Brief of Appellants

Government's Motion to Dismiss

Memorandum on Combatant Status Review Tribunal

Response to Motion to Dismiss

Al-Marri Reply Brief

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