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HABEAS CORPUS AND THE WAR ON TERROR

POL 201 AMERICAN NATIONAL GOVERNMENT

JEFFREY LONG

JANUARY 27, 2014

September 11, 2001 has brought about many changes in the form of how the country protects itself from terrorists. In particular, how we handle individuals captured and labeled as enemy combatants. The United States Naval Station in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba(GITMO) is land leased to the United States under the Cuban-American Treaty of 1903 for the use of coaling and a Naval station. Since 2002, the naval base has operated a detention camp for alleged enemy combatants captured in Afghanistan, Iraq, and other places. Legal issues surrounding the imprisonment without due process is an argument that has continued since the opening of this facility. This essay will argue why the rights afforded by the Constitution should be afforded to detainees at GITMO in terms of habeas corpus.
Habeas corpus is a demand by a court to a jailer to produce the prisoner and announce the charges(Levin-Waldman, 2012). Derived from English common law, habeas corpus first appeared in the Magna Carta of 1215 and is the oldest human right in the history of English-speaking civilization. The doctrine of habeas corpus stems from the requirement that a government must either charge a person or let him go free. The Bush administration’s decision to incarcerate enemy combatants at GITMO without habeas corpus has tested the scope and commitment of this constitutional right(Schultz, 2011). This right is clearly stated in Article 1, Section 9 of the constitution that habeas corpus shall not be suspended unless when in cases of rebellion or invasion the public safety may require it. The Bush administration’s argument for denying habeas corpus stems from the Supreme Court’s ruling of the 1950 case of Johnson vs Eisentrager in which Eisentrager and 20 German war criminals were denied the writ of…...

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