Dr. C. Scott Ananian (cananian) wrote,
Dr. C. Scott Ananian

Americans must be tried before they're jailed... right?

Slate magazine has a sobering article on the outcome of the Hamdi case. Hamdi was the American citizen who was captured, at age 20, in Afghanistan. His captors insisted he was an enemy because he was "affiliated with a Taliban military unit." His father said he was in Afghanistan for humanitarian reasons, and mistakenly rounded up with the wrong crowd. [We've seen how that works at the RNC in New York, haven't we?]

This is how most encounters with the law begin: with a suspect. In the American Justice System, we are taught that the next step is that the suspect gets their day in court, argues that they were wrongly accused, and a judge or jury makes a ruling. Justice is served. Unsupported allegations are disproved.

But it doesn't have to be that way anymore. Instead, you as an American citizen, like Hamdi, could instead get moved swiftly "from Guantanamo to military brigs in Virginia and South Carolina, where [you could be] held in solitary confinement for over two years, denied access to an attorney, and never charged."

The case was appealed to the Supreme Court: Hamdi's an American. He must be informed of his charges, and he must get a trial! Picking up with the Slate story:

Hamdi's case, decided by the Supreme Court earlier this year, was supposed to represent a high-water mark for American freedoms during wartime. He had fought for and won his day in court, an opportunity to question his captors, and a chance at national vindication at the end of it all. Hamdi's name stood for the proposition that the Bush administration couldn't run roughshod over the courts and the law in its pursuit of the war on terror. It now stands for precisely the opposite: With a yawn and a shrug, the administration sidestepped the courts and the judicial process once again, abandoning this criminal prosecution altogether and erasing the episode from our national memory. Hamdi has been stripped of his citizenship and his freedom to travel, and sent packing to his family. The rights and processes guaranteed him by the Supreme Court have been yanked away one last time, by an executive branch that held him for years for no reason and smugly claims now that it was finished with him anyhow.

It makes me ill.

Another good article on protest in America: protest==threat against the president.

I've been there. Unfortunately, detention without trial seems to be becoming more and more common when people protesting power are concerned.


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