Suit on Detainees' Behalf Is Dismissed: A lawsuit demanding that Afghan prisoners at Guantanamo Naval Base in Cuba be given access to U.S. courts was dismissed Thursday by a federal judge in Los Angeles. U.S. District Judge A. Howard Matz [...] wrote, U.S. courts lack jurisdiction because the prisoners are being held on Cuban soil over which America has no sovereignty. USC law professor Erwin Chemerinsky, who argued the petitioners' case before Matz on Thursday, said the ad hoc group will appeal the ruling to the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco.
Well, like that's a surprise.
I am surprised, however, that he based the denial of jurisdiction on Cuban sovereignty; typically, that's not how such cases are dismissed. (Also, it baffles common sense to say that Cuba exercises anything resembling sovereignty over Guantanamo.) The typical dismissal comes because US bases overseas exist in a sort of neverland, where nobody's rules apply to anyone but US military personnel. And the last statement in the article is entirely disingenuous: how can you contact relatives if you can't contact prisoners themselves? The US isn't allowing any real outside contact, aside from the Red Cross.Posted by iain at February 22, 2002 05:27 PM