American held for 5 yrs
Hafetz's attitude stems from the unique circumstances of the case against Ali al-Marri, 43, an alleged al Qaeda operative from Qatar who has spent the past five-and-half years in solitary confinement in the U.S. naval brig in Charleston, S.C., without any charges levied against him.
"The key point is that in America, for 230 years, when we accuse people of wrongdoing, even acts of terrorism, we bring them to trial in our civilian courts. We don't lock them in Navy brigs and throw away the key," Hafetz says.
President Barack Obama reversed one of the most controversial Bush administration policies in the legal war on terror Friday by ordering an end to the indefinite detention of so-called "enemy combatants" on U.S. soil.
The Justice Department announced a new, two-count indictment against al-Marri for allegedly conspiring to provide and for providing material support for al Qaeda, the terrorist organization responsible for the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on America that left nearly 3,000 people dead.
"Once the President has the power to declare someone 'the enemy,' whether it's acting on behalf of al Qaeda, another terrorist organization, or even any other criminal act, we've basically eliminated the most sacred protections under our system of government: the right to be presented before a jury, the right to be tried before a court of law," Hafetz says.
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