Federal Judge Joyce Hens Green in Washington, handling claims filed by more than 50 detainees, said the Supreme Court made clear last year that they have constitutional rights that lower courts should enforce.
The war on terror “cannot negate the existence of the most basic fundamental rights for which the people of this country have fought and died for well over 200 years,” she wrote.
The decision conflicts with a ruling two weeks ago by another federal judge based in Washington who found that last year’s landmark Supreme Court ruling did not provide detainees at Guantanamo Bay the legal basis to win their freedom.
About 550 detainees are being held at the US Navy base, accused of being enemy combatants.
“Her opinion sends a message to the rest of the world that democracy is still here,” said Barbara Olshansky, an attorney with the New York-based Centre for Constitutional Rights, which is representing the detainees. About 550 people are being held at the Navy base, accused of being enemy combatants. The prisoners, all men from 42 countries, were mainly swept up in the US-led war in Afghanistan.