May 20th, 2009
12:19 PM ET
6 years ago

Judge rules U.S. can hold some suspected terrorists indefinitely

A federal judge has ruled that the U.S. may some detainees indefinitely.
A federal judge has ruled that the U.S. may some detainees indefinitely.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – The president retains the power to hold indefinitely and without charges some accused terrorists at the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, military detention camp, a federal judge has ruled.

The decision by District Judge John Bates said those prisoners the United States deems responsible for the 9/11 attacks, or those who are or were al Qaeda or Taliban members can be detained. But he limited the Obama administration's power to imprison those who it says "support" terror or enemy forces.

The decision comes as the White House and Congress face a showdown over what to do with hundreds of Guantanamo prisoners when the facility at the U.S. naval base in Cuba is closed, a move Obama has promised will occur before February. Many lawmakers opposed housing the prisoners in the United States.

"The president has the authority to detain persons that the president determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, and persons who harbored those responsible for those attacks," wrote Bates in an opinion issued late Tuesday.

"The president also has the authority to detain persons who are or were part of Taliban or al Qaeda forces or associated forces that are engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners, including any person who has committed (i.e., directly participated in) a belligerent act in aid of such enemy armed forces," the Washington-based judge said.

Among the top-level prisoners in custody at the Guantanamo Bay facility is Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the alleged mastermind of the 9/11 attacks.


Filed under: Guantanamo Bay • President Obama
soundoff (60 Responses)
  1. Pat F

    Sniffit, do you never stop embarassing yourself in public?

    The Judge was GRANTING the motion made by the Obama Justice Department!

    Instead of playing make-believe journalist, why don't you stick to your real job – getting through the fifth grade?

    May 20, 2009 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  2. J

    sure why not, it's just like having another illegal immigrant in this country.

    May 20, 2009 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  3. Dennis Smith

    Those who support this should go to Washington and Rip up our constitution. Democracies can only keep "convicted" prisoners in jail and not those who "might" do something in the future.

    We cannot make some rules for some people and different rules for others. It is UNAMERICAN!!!!

    May 20, 2009 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  4. Gary

    I know that it is politically correct to bash Bush, but the Obama administration review concluded Gitmo, the detentions and the tribunals were compliant with international law. Maybe we need to fix a few minor things but maybe the Bush administration did an okay job with this. Personally, not a huge fan of Bush but I do think he kept us safe since 9/11 and for that I appreciate his tenure as president.

    May 20, 2009 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  5. Bev - NYC

    Maybe we can finish the prison we were building in Iraq & transfer the ones who are truly guilty there. The people of Iraq enjoyed US taxpayer money to the tune of 10 Billion a month for 6 years, this is there chance to repay the favor. Thanks Bush/Cheney, yet another mess you had no plan for.

    May 20, 2009 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  6. John in Austin

    If you hurt us, we hold you indefinitely.
    If we hurt you, we send the idiot back the Texas.

    If you torture us, we kill you.
    If we torture you, it's only an interrogation.

    May 20, 2009 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  7. Dan, TX

    Excellent, now stop criticizing Iran when they do the same thing.

    May 20, 2009 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  8. ArtNYC

    When Bush did it, it was wrong. When Obama does the same thing, it's all of the sudden right.

    May 20, 2009 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  9. John in Austin

    Proud Member..Party of No May 20th, 2009 12:36 pm ET

    Gosh, imagine that….Bush and his legal advisers were right….AGAIN.
    ____________________

    Yea... it helps when the judge who approves it is hand picked by Bush!

    "Idiot wind, blowing everytime you move your teeth. You're an idiot babe, it's a wonder that you still know how to breathe."

    May 20, 2009 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  10. Grrrr-awful-o

    Dang! Another of Obama's campaign promises goes up in smoke...

    "Change you can"... Awwwww, Shad Up!

    May 20, 2009 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
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