For Immediate Release:
April 8, 2008
Mike Webb, 212-998-6746
Jonathan Hafetz, 917-355-6896
Today, the Brennan Center for Justice asked a federal court to end the detention of a U.S. resident who is being held on the advice of long-discredited Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) memos which sought to justify torture and indefinite detention.
In a letter to the Fourth Circuit Court, Jonathan Hafetz, the Litigation Director for the Brennan Center's Liberty & National Security Project, notes that the OLC eventually withdrew the memo because of its faulty legal assertions that the Fourth and Fifth Amendments do not apply to citizens and residents in some cases. Hafetz writes, "the President designated Ali Saleh Kahlah Almarri an "enemy combatant" based upon a misguided interpretation of the Fourth and Fifth Amendments, and to uphold that detention is to endorse an analysis that even the Justice Department has repudiated."
The request comes following the public disclosure of a March 2003 OLC memo written by John Yoo that incorrectly sanction detention and deny the long-held right to habeas corpus to some suspects.
"Yoo's OLC memo is a tour de force of legal reasoning gone wrong, and unfortunately, for the past five years, Mr. Almarri has had to bear the brunt of Yoo's tortured logic," said Hafetz. "There is no legitimate basis for Mr. Almarri to be detained by the U.S. It is beyond the pale that the United States would hold person in this country for so many years without charging him with a crime and subject him to the abusive treatment Mr. Almarri has been forced to endure. The government should charge Mr. Almarri or release him immediately."
Last month, in a separate suit addressing Mr. Almarri's mistreatment at the Navy brig, the Brennan Center asked a District Court to investigate why some of the Defense Department's recordings of Mr. Almarri's interrogations had been destroyed and to remedy Mr. Almarri's conditions at the brig, where he has been held in virtual isolation for the last five years. Almarri's habeas appeal is pending before the full Fourth Circuit.
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