Enemy combatant detained in military brig accuses US jailers of rights abuses

[JURIST] Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri [Human Rights First profile], an Illinois student from Qatar, filed suit in the US District Court for the District of South Carolina Monday accusing his military jailers of violating his human rights [Human Rights Watch press release] during his two years of detention at the Naval Consolidated Brig in Charleston, South Carolina. The complaint asks the court to prevent further "cruel, inhumane and/or degrading treatment," claiming jailers subjected al-Marri to inhumane treatment, abuse of the Koran, and threats to his family. Al-Marri entered the US on a student visa September 10, 2001, was arrested by the FBI in December 2001 and charged in May 2003 with credit card fraud and lying to the FBI [US Attorney's Office press release; complaint]. In June 2003, however, President Bush declared him an enemy combatant [CNN report] and had him removed to the Charleston facility. Noting al-Marri's legal entry into the country, his attorney stated that "if the government can detain al-Marri indefinitely without charges and treat him like this, they can detain any of the approximately 20 million non-citizens who are in this country legally." The Department of Defense responded to the suit, stating

This is a legal matter that will be handled through legal channels, and we will not comment on specific allegations. However, allegations of this nature have been proven false in the past, and we know that enemy combatants have been trained to make sensational claims about their detention if captured.
A decision in a separate suit challenging al-Marri's status as an enemy combatant is pending. The New York Times has more.


 

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