Thursday, 15 December 2011

HoR votes on unconstitutional law abandoning habeas corpus

Source: Al Jazeera

A 662bn USD defence bill that includes a controversial proposed legislation that would deny terror suspects, including US citizens, the right to trial and permit authorities to detain them indefinitely, has been passed without presidential opposition by the Republican-lead House of Representatives.

Christopher Anders, senior legislative counsel at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), said the bill was a "big deal".

"It would authorise the president to order the military to capture civilians and put them in indefinite detention without charge or trial, with no limitation based on either geography or citizenship," he told Al Jazeera.

"The military would have the authority to imprison persons far from any battlefield, including American citizens and including people picked up in the US."

Habeas Corpus, literally in Latin "you have the body" is a term that represents an important right granted to individuals in America. Basically, a writ of habeas corpus is a judicial mandate requiring that a prisoner be brought before the court to determine whether the government has the right to continue detaining them. The individual being held or their representative can petition the court for such a writ. [1]

Habeas corpus is one the most important rights guaranteed under the Constitution, and was first codified in British law with the Habeas Corpus Act 1679.

It has continued across the world as one of the basic rights afforded a citizen, and now looks certain to be effectively legislated away in the U.S.. 

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