A victory for the Fifth Amendment:
A U.S. judge dealt a setback to the Bush administration and ruled on Monday that the Guantanamo Bay terrorism suspects can challenge their confinement and the procedures in their military tribunal review process are unconstitutional. U.S. District Judge Joyce Hens Green said the prisoners at the U.S. military base at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba have constitutional protections under U.S. law. “The court concludes that the petitioners have stated valid claims under the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution and that the procedures implemented by the government to confirm that the petitioners are ‘enemy combatants’ subject to indefinite detention violate the petitioners’ rights to due process of law,” Green wrote. More than 540 suspects are being held at Guantanamo after being detained during the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan and in other operations in the U.S. war on terrorism. They are al Qaeda suspects and accused Taliban fighters. The ruling pertained to only 50 detainees. Bush administration attorneys argued the prisoners have no constitutional rights and their lawsuits challenging the conditions of their confinement and seeking their release must be dismissed. The tribunals, formally called a military commission, at the base were authorized by President Bush after the Sept. 11, 2001, hijacked airliner attacks on the United States, but have been criticized by human rights groups as unfair to defendants.