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Supreme Court deals blow to Guantánamo prisoners challenging their detention

Supreme Court refuses, without comment, to take up multiple appeals examining whether Guantánamo detainees have a 'meaningful opportunity' to challenge the legality of their detention.

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In this March 25 file photo, people visit the Supreme Court in Washington.

Jacquelyn Martin/AP/File

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The US Supreme Court on Monday refused to take up multiple appeals examining whether suspected Al Qaeda and Taliban detainees at Guantánamo are being afforded a “meaningful opportunity” to challenge the legality of their open-ended detention.

The high court turned aside appeals filed on behalf of seven Guantánamo detainees. The action came without comment from the justices, but it carried enormous significance.

It lets stand without additional judicial review a series of appeals court rulings since July 2010 that have made it increasingly difficult for Guantánamo detainees to win their cases.

“Today’s decision leaves the fate of detainees in the hands of a hostile [appeals court], which has erected innumerable, unjustified legal obstacles that have made it practically impossible for a detainee to win a habeas case in the trial courts,” said Vincent Warren of the Center for Constitutional Rights, which represents many detainees at Guantánamo.

“The [Supreme Court’s] refusal to get involved at this critical juncture permits the court of appeals to continue to rubber stamp the military’s decision-making,” Mr. Warren said in a statement.

Among the rejected appeals was the case of an alleged recruit from Yemen, Adnan Farhan Abdul Latif.

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