Two leading civil rights groups charge in a new study that the Bush administration has twisted the American system of due process "beyond recognition" in jailing at least 70 terror suspects as "material witnesses" since the Sept. 11 attacks, and the groups are calling on Congress to impose tougher safeguards.
The report, which is to be released on Monday by the groups, Human Rights Watch and the American Civil Liberties Union, found that the 70 suspects, about a quarter of them American citizens and all but one Muslim men, were jailed - often for weeks or months - in American facilities without being charged with a crime. Ultimately, only seven men were formally accused of supporting terrorism, the report said.
[. . .]
With Congress locked in a dispute over the government's powers under the antiterrorism law known as the USA Patriot Act, the report reflects an effort by civil rights groups to expand the debate to other legal tools the Bush administration is using against terrorism. The groups recommended a number of new restrictions on the law's use, and aides to Senator Patrick J. Leahy of Vermont, the ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, said he would introduce legislation to limit the government's ability to detain a material witness indefinitely.
The above is from Eric Lichtblau's "Two Groups Charge Abuse of Witness Law" in this morning's New York Times.
Eli e-mails to note Damien Cave's "Normally Quiet, a Military Town Talks of Casualties:"
Residents of this sprawling military town on the North Carolina coast are not likely to make a public display of grief over the deaths of local marines in a suicide attack in Iraq. They have adopted a grit-your-teeth defense mechanism to such news; after all, more than 100 marines from the local base, Camp Lejeune, have died in Iraq since the start of the war.
But an attack Thursday on a military convoy in Falluja that killed six American troops and injured 13 others has opened wide fissures of opinion just below the studied calm. Four of those killed and 11 of those injured were women, and across town this weekend, at church services, at cookouts and in diners, families were talking about what the role of women in combat should be.
Nona Sanders, 38, a field medical corpsman in the Navy who is based at Camp Lejeune, said that the sex of those who died mattered less than the sacrifice. She is on leave from duty in Iraq and is scheduled to return on Tuesday.
We'll note Greg Myre's "New Zealand and Israel End Passport Battle" because it's on the topic Micah shared yesterday:
New Zealand and Israel on Sunday declared the end of a diplomatic dispute that erupted last year when two Israelis, widely believed to be spies, were arrested for using fraudulent means to try obtain New Zealand passports.
The two men, Uri Kelman and Eli Cara, were detained in New Zealand in March 2004. Four months later, they pleaded guilty to obtaining passports by using the identity of a person who has cerebral palsy and was unable to speak. They were released and deported in September after serving two months of a six-month sentence.
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