In a 2-1 decision today a Federal Appeals Court ruled that the Bush administration can not detain Ali al-Marri, A U.S resident whom they've deemed an Al-Qaeda sleeper agent, without charging him.
The Bush administration cannot legally detain a U.S. resident it deems an al Qaeda sleeper agent without charge and must allow him to be released from military detention, a divided federal appeals court ruled Monday.
The court said sanctioning the indefinite detention of civilians would have "disastrous consequences for the constitution and the country."
In the 2-1 decision, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel also ruled that the federal Military Commissions Act does not strip Qatari national Ali al-Marri of his constitutional rights to challenge his accusers in court. He is the only person being held as an enemy combatant on U.S. soil.
"To sanction such presidential authority to order the military to seize and indefinitely detain civilians, even if the President calls them 'enemy combatants,' would have disastrous consequences for the constitution -- and the country," the court said in its opinion.
The decision that he must be released doesn't mean that he'll now go free, it just means that his case must be transferred out of the military system and into the civilian court system.
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