Lawyers: No Legal Basis for Keeping Libyan Detainee at Sea

Liby Being Held on Ship Without Legal Access

Defense lawyers in the US are demanding the Obama Administration bring captured Libyan detainee Abu Anas al-Liby before a federal judge and appoint him a defense counsel, saying there is no legal basis not to do so.

Liby was captured outside his home by US troops over the weekend, and is currently being held on a warship in the Mediterranean Sea, where he is subject to interrogation by US troops and has no access to a lawyer.

Administration officials are arguing the exact contrary on the matter, arguing that there is no legal basis to not keep a captive indefinitely in military custody at sea, and that therefore President Obama can keep him in a legal black hole as long as he wants, since a ship in international waters is neither US territory nor the territory of any other nation.

The Geneva Convention requires that “prisoners of war” must be held on land, exactly for this reason, and while the administration made some vague references to Liby’s capture being in keeping with the ongoing global war, they have yet to call him a “prisoner of war.”

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of