Obama to Let Bagram Prisoners Challenge Detention

Representatives would amass evidence, witnesses for detainees
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 12, 2009 8:20 PM CDT
Abdullah Hermat, 38, from Mazar, was in Guantanamo Bay prison for 7 years, and is seen here in February 4, 2009 in Kabul, Afghanistan.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – The White House plans to give some 600 detainees at a US-run prison in Kabul greater power to dispute their custody, the New York Times reports. After an expected rubber stamp from Congress, the Obama administration will send representatives to Bagram Air Base to amass evidence and witnesses for detainees. Some have been there for 6 years and, unlike Guantanamo Bay prisoners, have had few legal rights.

President Obama is making the move as part of an effort to separate his policies from more severe Bush-era tactics, and respect a federal judge's ruling that some Bagram detainees deserve the chance to challenge their incarceration. Pentagon officials say it would also help separate extremists from more moderate prisoners. But human rights groups, well aware of Bagram's deadly reputation, say the policy is all talk unless people follow through and detainees take advantage of their newfound rights.