The Supreme Court refused Monday to hear a petition by seven detainees at the US military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba who are challenging the legality of their detention.
Four years after the top US court cleared the way for such challenges with its decision in Boumediene v Bush, it rejected the latest appeal without comment, upholding an appeals court decision in the case.
In Latif v. Obama, lawyers for the detainees argued that the appeals court had shown “manifest unwillingness to allow Guantanamo detainees to prevail in their habeas corpus cases.”
In all, seven Guantanamo detainees have filed habeas corpus petitions challenging their detention, and in every case the US government has called on the Supreme Court to deny them a hearing.
The Center for Constitutional Rights, whose lawyers defend several of the Guantanamo detainees, said it was “extremely disappointed” by the court’s decision.
“By refusing to hear these cases, and any Guantanamo cases since its 2008 Boumediene decision, the court abandons the promise of its own ruling guaranteeing detainees a constitutional right to meaningful review of the legality of their detention,” it said.
The center said the decision leaves detainees at the mercy of “a hostile DC Circuit Court of Appeals, which has erected innumerable, unjustified legal obstacles that have made it practically impossible for a detainee to win a habeas case in the trial courts.”
The District of Columbia appeals court, which has jurisdiction over Guantanamo, has never ruled in favor of releasing a Guantanamo detainee.
The CCR called on President Barack Obama to honor his promise to close the prison, and begin by freeing 87 detainees who US authorities have concluded should be released because they pose no danger to the United States.
There are 169 detainees remaining in Guantanamo, most of whom have never been charged.
[Two members of the military walking out of a detention facility at the U.S. Naval Station in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. AFP Photo/Jim Watson]