Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Update: Torture and Detention

The Senate reached a compromise toning down the language of the Graham "Screw Human Rights" Amendment. Now, a detainee who has been tried before a military tribunal receives an automatic appeal to the D.C. Circuit if their sentence is greater than ten years, and detainees can petition the D.C. Circuit for an appeal if their sentence is less. The new language, authored by Carl Levin (D-MI), allows the D.C. Circuit to rule on the constitutionality of the process case-by-case should an appeal be brought. It's a significant improvement over the original GSHRA, but it still robs detainees of many of the rights that form the basis of our legal system. There is still no recourse for those detained who don't even get a military tribunal. And there is no transparency at all for the military tribunal process. (This baffles me - why can we give Nazis a public military trial with access to lawyers, the right to defend themselves, etc. and not do the same for al Qaeda?)

Graham and Levin are asking the Senate conferees to link the language of this bill to the McCain Amendment. That may sound trivial, but realize that the GSHRA is something that the Administration dearly wants - Senators want Bush to realize that if he wants to strip people of their access to courts, he'll have to deal with not torturing them.

You know, five years ago I never would have dreamed of typing that last sentence.

1 comment:

Mike said...

Reminds me of what Leonard Pitts responded when Bush said, "We do not torture.": "I remember when that went without saying."