Federal judge orders al-Marri to remain in prison pending trial

[JURIST] A US magistrate judge in South Carolina ruled Wednesday that suspected al Qaeda operative Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri [NYT profile; JURIST news archive] must remain in prison as the criminal case against him proceeds. Judge Robert Carr denied al-Marri's request to be freed on bail, finding that he had failed to prove that he was not a danger to the community [Bloomberg report], despite his lawyer's assurance that he could be placed in a secure location until his trial. Al-Marri is scheduled to be arraigned in federal court in Illinois on Monday. It is unclear when he will be transferred from South Carolina.

Last week, the US Supreme Court [official website; JURIST news archive] granted [order, PDF; JURIST report] a motion [text, PDF] by the US government to dismiss as moot an appeal challenging al-Marri's indefinite detention, following the Obama administration's decision to try al-Marri in US federal court [JURIST report]. Al-Marri was indicted [indictment text; DOJ press release] earlier this month on two charges of providing material support to al Qaeda and conspiring with others to provide material support to al Qaeda. In January, shortly after taking office, President Barack Obama ordered an immediate review [JURIST report] of al-Marri's detention. 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.

 

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