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Supreme Court dismisses al-Marri 'enemy combatant' appeal as moot

[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website; JURIST news archive] on Friday granted [order, PDF] a motion by the US government to dismiss as moot an appeal challenging the indefinite detention of suspected al Qaeda operative Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri [NYT profile; JURIST news archive]. The Court had granted certiorari [JURIST report] in December on al-Marri's appeal of a ruling by the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit upholding his detention. Acting Solicitor General Edwin Kneedler presented a motion [text, PDF] to the Court, asking it to dismiss the appeal as moot in light of the administration's decision last week to try al-Marri in US federal court [JURIST report]. Al-Marri was indicted [indictment text; DOJ press release] last week 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. His indefinite detention and classification as an enemy combatant caused controversy between the Bush administration and rights groups including the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) [advocacy website], which is providing him with legal representation [case materials]. 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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