If yesterday was any indication, a federal appeals court will soon hand the Bush administration a major defeat on their policy of indefinitely detaining "enemy combatants."
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Ali al-Marri might be an al-Qaeda sleeper agent. Or at least, the Bush administration said so and detained him five years ago, but has never charged him. Instead, al-Marri, a citizen of Qatar living as a legal resident in Illinois, has been detained for all that time in a Navy brig in Charleston, SC. The administration's stance is that, thanks to the Authorization for the Use of Military Force passed by Congress on September 18, 2001, it can hold al-Marri as long as it sees fit. It got a boost last year from the Military Commissions Act, which revoked due process from anyone detained as an enemy combatant.
Yesterday, lawyers for al-Marri challenged his detention before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. Some of the judges appeared disinclined to accept the administration's arguments, according to The New York Times: