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Christian Science Monitor: Guantanamo Detainees on U.S. Soil: A Legal Minefield

Author: Warren Richey
December 15, 2009


President Obama wants to house some Guantanamo detainees in an Illinois prison. But bringing the detainess to the U.S. will likely broaden their legal rights. 'How much?' is the unanswered question.

President Obama's decision to transfer as many as 100 terror suspects from Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, to a maximum security prison in rural Illinois potentially sets the stage for a new round of high-stakes legal battles over what additional rights, if any, Al Qaeda suspects are entitled to.

Under their current terms of confinement at Guantánamo, detainees have a constitutional right to challenge the legality of their detention in federal court. But that's it.

In contrast, from the moment the detainees set foot on US soil, their lawyers will have the ability to tap into the full array of constitutional and other legal protections enjoyed by every American citizen and resident.

How broad might those protections be?

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