A federal appeals court today ruled that President Bush cannot indefinitely imprison a U.S. resident on suspicion alone, and ordered the government to either charge Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri with his alleged terrorist crimes in a civilian court or release him.
The opinion is a major blow to the Bush administration's assertion that as the president seeks to combat terrorism, he has exceptionally broad powers to detain without charges both foreign citizens abroad and those living legally in the United States. The government is expected to appeal the 2-1 decision handed down by a three-judge panel of the conservative U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, which is in Richmond, Va.
Former Secretary of State Colin Powell, yesterday, on Meet the Press:
Guantanamo has become a major, major problem . . . in the way the world perceives America and if it were up to me I would close Guantanamo not tomorrow but this afternoon . . . and I would not let any of those people go. I would simply move them to the United States and put them into our federal legal system.