Federal Court Orders Military to Free Civilian

Ruling rebukes Bush administration, which plans to appeal
By Sophie Goldstein,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 11, 2007 4:51 PM CDT
Federal Court Orders Military to Free Civilian
(FILE PHOTO) Al Qaida Suspect Transferred To DOD   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – The US may not keep a civilian believed to be an enemy combatant in military custody, a federal appeals court ruled today, finding that President Bush "cannot eliminate constitutional protections with the stroke of a pen." The administration quickly announced its intention to appeal the decision that Ali al-Marri must be charged in a civilian court or released.

The government contends that al-Marri, a Qatari national who was in the country legally when he was arrested in 2001, is an Al-Qaeda sleeper agent. The ruling, a sharp rebuff to Bush's expansion of executive authority, forbids military detention of civilians seized within US borders—a distinction that exempts the detainees at Guantanamo Bay, the New York Times reports. (Read more federal courts stories.)

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