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Stay issued in Bagram detainee habeas case

A US District Court judge had previously ruled that three detainees being held at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan can challenge their detention using US courts and Habeas Corpus motions. This continued intrusion of the judiciary into an area where the Constitution and our history have never seen them having a role has been put on hold. The same judge has stayed his ruling as the Obama administration appeals this decision.

"These cases present extraordinary circumstances," Bates wrote. "Although this Court believes that its conclusions are correct, given the novelty of the issues courts could reasonably differ."

Bates wrote that he was persuaded that allowing the cases to proceed would have some negative impact on military operations at Bagram.

"In producing discovery from Bagram, an active military zone, and modifying facilities at Bagram to allow for litigation of habeas cases, respondents will be required to divert at least some of the military's resources from their core missions in Afghanistan," the judge wrote. "Even if the practical obstacles are not so great as to defeat jurisdiction, the harm is still sufficient to weigh in favor of a stay."

I don't know what this judge based his initial ruling on. Our courts have never played a part in the detention of prisoners captured by the military or our intel agencies during wartime. This case involves three non-Afghans who were captured elsewhere and transferred to Bagram. There are around 600 prisoners there most of whom were captured in country. I guess there could be a distinction between those captured in country and those transferred there from somewhere else, but I fail to see how this should involve the US courts.

In addition to the bizarre legal reasoning, this represents a huge problem if the military and intel agencies must collect enough evidence to survive a habeas corpus challenge. Neither of them are law enforcement agencies so there is no training in gathering or preserving evidence. In addition the evidence may be classified or attempting to gather it could keep our people in hostile areas longer than they should. All in all this is a case that needs to be overturned on the appeal. We don't need judges on the battlefield.