Obama orders immediate review of al-Marri detention in US

[JURIST] US President Barack Obama [official profile] on Thursday ordered a review [text] of the detention of Qatar national Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri [NYT profile; JURIST news archive]. Al-Marri is the only individual currently being held on US soil by the Department of Defense (DOD) [official website] as an enemy combatant [JURIST news archive], and is unaffected by Obama's order to close [text; JURIST report] the offshore Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] prison facility. The order calls for the participation and cooperation of the Attorney General, the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Homeland Security, the Director of National Intelligence, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and others in quickly resolving the matter. In December, the Supreme Court granted certiorari [JURIST report] in al-Marri's case to review a ruling [JURIST report] by the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit upholding his indefinite detention. Counsel for petitioner al-Marri filed a brief [text, PDF] Wednesday. On Thursday, Acting Solicitor General Edwin Kneedler requested an extension [text, PDF] of the deadline for the government's brief, currently due February 20, to allow for the government to resolve the matter in compliance with Obama's order. According to the request, al-Marri has consented to the extension.

Al-Marri was arrested at his home in Peoria, Illinois by civilian authorities in 2001, and was indicted for other crimes. In 2003, then-President George W. Bush declared him an enemy combatant [CNN report] and ordered the attorney general to transfer custody of al-Marri to the defense secretary, claiming inherent authority to hold him indefinitely. Al-Marri has claimed abuse [JURIST report] while being held in a US Navy brig in Charleston, South Carolina, where he currently remains.



 

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