More than nine months of desperate pleading finally paid off for the mothers of three American hikers detained in Iranas they embraced their children in an emotional reunion in Tehran today.
It was the first time the mothers have seen the hikers since the group was arrested in July for crossing the Iranian border and accused of spying by Iranian officials. The brother of one of the hikers was nearly overcome with emotion when he saw video of his mother hugging and kissing his brother on the cheek when they met at the Esteghlal Hotel in north Tehran.
In an interview earlier this month with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said it was up to a judge to decide whether the hikers were telling the truth when they claimed that they simply got lost.
“They have to provide proof and evidence to the judge in Iran that shows that they lost their way or made a mistake,” Ahmadinejad said. “When the time comes, they will have a lawyer.”
A federal appeals court ruled on Friday that prisoners being held without trial in Afghanistan by the military have no right to challenge their imprisonment in American civilian courts. The decision, overturning a lower court ruling in the detainees’ favor, was a victory for the Obama administration’s efforts to hold terrorism suspects overseas for extended periods without judicial oversight.
In a unanimous 26-page ruling, a panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled that detainees who were captured outside of Afghanistan and brought to a military prison at the Bagram air base have no right to a hearing in which a judge would review the evidence against them and could potentially order their release.
Such habeas corpus rights do “not extend to aliens held in executive detention in the Afghan theater of war,” wrote David B. Sentelle, the chief judge of the appeals court, who was appointed by former President Ronald Reagan. His opinion was joined by Judges Harry T. Edwards, a Carter appointee, and David S. Tatel, a Clinton appointee.
I am so ashamed.
Can you smell the hypocrisy? How could anyone miss its pungent, suffocating odor? Apparently, what Obama called “a legal black hole at Guantanamo” is a heinous injustice, but “a legal black hole at Bagram” is the Embodiment of Hope. And evidently, Obama would only feel “terror” if his child were abducted and taken to Guantanamo and imprisoned “without even getting one chance to ask why and prove their innocence.” But if the very same child were instead taken to Bagram and treated exactly the same way, that would be called Justice — or, to use his jargon, Pragmatism. And what kind of person hails a Supreme Court decision as “protecting our core values” — as Obama said of Boumediene — only to then turn around and make a complete mockery of that ruling by insisting that the Cherished, Sacred Rights it recognized are purely a function of where the President orders a detainee-carrying military plane to land?
This is what Barack Obama has done to the habeas clause of the Constitution: if you are in Thailand (as one of the petitioners in this case was) and the U.S. abducts you and flies you to Guantanamo, then you have the right to have a federal court determine if there is sufficient evidence to hold you. If, however, President Obama orders that you be taken to from Thailand to Bagram rather than to Guantanamo, then you will have no rights of any kind, and he can order you detained there indefinitely without any right to a habeas review.