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US Judge Shelves Guantanamo Detainee Lawsuits February 1, 2007

Posted by notapundit in Judiciary, US News.
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WASHINGTON (AP)–Sixteen lawsuits by Guantanamo Bay detainees were put on hold Wednesday by a federal judge who said he may no longer have jurisdiction to hear their cases.

U.S. District Court Judge Reggie B. Walton in Washington said the Military Commissions Act, signed into law in October, has left him unable to consider whether the detainees can challenge being held at the Marine facility in Cuba.

An appeals court in Washington is considering whether civilian jurists can rule on those cases. Until that issue is resolved, Walton said, “it is this court’s view that it lacks the authority to take any action in these cases.”

Walton’s six-page order denying the motions challenging detention of the 16 men left open the possibility refiling the requests if the appeals court decides civilian courts can review detainee cases.

If the appeals panel “concludes that this court retains some degree of jurisdiction over any or all of the above-captioned cases, the matters will be automatically reopened as appropriate,” he wrote.

The Justice Department did not have an immediate comment.

The New York-based Center for Constitutional Rights, which represents the detainees, said that Walton’s decision will delay justice for an estimated 200 people imprisoned at Guantanamo.

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