One year after the Supreme Court granted prisoners at Guantanamo Bay the right to challenge their detention in US federal courts, few have benefited from the ruling due to political concerns.
It was exactly one year ago Friday that the high court, in a landmark five-to-four majority ruling titled Boumediene v. Bush, granted the writ of habeas corpus to the “war on terror” detainees.
It was the third time in four years that the Supreme Court ruled against the Bush administration and extended constitutional rights to the detainees at the US naval base in southeastern Cuba, where most have been held since early 2002 without charge or trial.
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A year later, less than 30 cases have been examined. For most of the prisoners, who now number about 230, their detention was declared illegal.
President Barack Obama has vowed to close the controversial detention facility by January 22, but his plans have sent politicians at home scrambling to make sure none of the terror suspects are brought to US soil, and met the reluctance of European allies to take in detainees.
“What federal judges applying the Supreme Court’s Boumediene decision have discovered is that, if they order release, what that means in reality is eligible for resettlement, not actual release,” said Lyle Denniston, a Supreme Court analyst with SCOTUSblog.