On Friday, we reported the comments of a lawyer for four Gitmo detainees, who told us that, in his view, the Obama administration is continuing the Bushies’ policy, by stonewalling efforts by detainees to appeal their detentions in federal courts.
And that same day, another data point emerged suggesting the new administration is taking a hard line on detainee policy.
The Washington Post reported Saturday:
The Obama administration yesterday appealed a judge’s decision granting three detainees at a U.S. military prison in Afghanistan the right to challenge their detention in U.S. courts, arguing partly that compliance would inhibit the future capture of Pakistani citizens for detention by U.S. forces in Afghanistan.
As the Post notes:
The appeal makes clear that, despite the ruling this month by U.S. District Judge John D. Bates, the Obama administration for now wants to stick with a policy set by President George W. Bush that those incarcerated by U.S. troops in foreign prisons have no U.S. legal rights.
A lawyer for the detainees in question told the Post:
I really thought Obama meant it when he said this is going to be the end of an overreaching executive who asserted he had the power to take people and lock them up and throw away the key, no matter whether they’ve done anything or not. It’s absolutely ridiculous that we should wait until the administration decides [on its policy] until we give three people who have been sitting in prison for six years the right to say, ‘I’m being held without any basis.’
The Obama-ites were careful to say that the move could still be reversed after a review of detainee policy is completed in July. So the jury may still be out here, and perhaps we should withhold judgment until then. But the initial signs don’t look good.