Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Memo Proves Detention Is Illegal, Attorneys Say

Go to Washington Post original
An accused "enemy combatant" told an appellate court yesterday that a controversial Justice Department memorandum exploring the legal boundaries of military interrogations proves that his detention was illegal.

Attorneys for Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri, a Qatari national the government calls an al-Qaeda sleeper agent, said the 2003 memo was a key part of a legal analysis backing Marri's detention that the Justice Department has repudiated. The memo "further demonstrates that al-Marri's detention lacks legal basis," the attorneys wrote in a letter to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit in Richmond, which is considering Marri's case.

The memo, declassified and released last week, asserted broad presidential powers in a time of war. It argued that federal laws prohibiting maiming and other crimes did not apply to military interrogators who questioned al-Qaeda captives because the president's authority as commander in chief overrode such statutes. Legal experts said they believe Marri is the first prisoner to cite the memo as evidence in his own case.


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