Some Detainees in Afghanistan Can Challenge Detention

Detainees Have Same Legal Rights as at Gitmo

A federal judge determined today that some of the detainees at the Bagram Air Force Base in Afghanistan have the same legal right to habeas corpus as detainees at Guantanamo Bay, saying the “objective degree” of US control over the facilities was “not appreciably different.”

The result means that these detainees can challenge their detention in US civilian courts, a blow to both the former Bush Administration and the current Obama Administration, which have claimed the ability to hold these people completely outside of the purview of American courts.

At the same time, the judge ruled it applied only to those detainees who were not citizens of Afghanistan, and that Afghan citizens held by the US in Afghanistan have no legal right to challenge their detention. The ruling admits this legal situation is “odd,” but insists that the possibility of friction with the Afghan government trumps the legal rights of such detainees.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.