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Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP Files Amicus Brief on Behalf of Guantanamo Bay Detainees, Outlines Israel’s Detention Practices

August 27, 2007

ATLANTA - On June 29, 2007, the U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari in Boumediene v. Bush and Al Odah v. United States. These cases address whether the parameters of the Military Commissions Act of 2006, which bars Guantanamo detainees from pursuing habeas corpus petitions, violates the Suspension Clause of the U.S. Constitution, and also whether the detainees are entitled to pursue habeas claims in federal court.

In conjunction with Stephen J. Schulhofer of the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law School, Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP filed an amicus brief on behalf of specialists in Israeli law in support of the petitioners, Boumediene and Al Odah.  The brief outlines the practices and laws that Israel uses in its detention practices, which have been examined at length by the Israeli government and court system. 

According to the brief, “despite Israel’s unremitting terrorist threat, the country’s courts have discerned no practical obstacle to exercising jurisdiction and guaranteeing the rule of law, regardless of the petitioner’s nationality or location.  Israel affords all detainees prompt, independent judicial review of their detention, protected by procedural safeguards and aided by access to counsel."

The Sutherland brief references Israel’s experience and success with this system in urging the Supreme Court to ensure that all detainees be afforded prompt, independent judicial review.  The brief argues that the judgments of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit should be reversed. 

Sutherland attorneys involved in the preparation and filing of the brief were Charles T. Lester, Jr., Avi Stadler, Drew D. Dropkin, Joshua A. Mayes, Kathleen Hanlon Sinclair and Benjamin C. Morgan.  The Supreme Court will hear both cases this fall.

The firm’s brief was the subject of a recent report by NPR’s Nina Totenberg.  To listen to the NPR segment, click here.

To read the brief in its entirety, please click here.

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