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Senate may revisit ban on court access for Guantanamo detainees

[JURIST] The US Senate [official website] may reconsider Thursday's 49-42 vote [JURIST report] to deny Guantanamo prisoners habeas corpus access to federal courts to contest their detentions as early as next week, according to negotiators on the issue. Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) [official website] is expected to introduce an additional amendment on Monday that would remove the habeas corpus provision from the Senate amendment added to the 2006 defense appropriations bill. The original amendment sponsored by GOP Senator Lindsey Graham would overturn the Supreme Court case Rasul v. Bush [opinion text] which in 2004 extended the right to challenge detentions in federal court to the 500 prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba [JURIST news archive] being held without charges. Since then, 300 detainees have filed petitions in US district courts requesting hearings. Lawyers specializing in military law have expressed suprise and concern over the amendment. Lee Casey, a lawyer with experience in the Reagan and the most recent Bush administration, said that though Congress has the power to contradict Supreme Court decisions, "stripping jurisdiction from the court after they have decided is far-reaching and, I think, premature." The Bush administration publicly voiced support for the Graham Amendment on Friday. Knight Ridder has more.

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