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June23, 2014.

USCitizen and noncitizen detainees’ rights in terrorism war

Theterrorist act of 9/11 caught the United States government off guard,and the aftermath terrorism fear led the government to instituteseveral policies meant to incapacitate terrorists in the fight ofterrorism. As a result, preventive detention was deployed byPresident Bush administration as one strategy of incapacitatingperceived and real US citizens and non-citizens terrorists(Issacharoff &amp Pildes, 2005). The main argument was that,detaining these suspected ‘enemy combatants’ and not releasingthem was an effective way of preventing the enemy returning to theextremist activities (Yoo, 2005).

Theoverriding assumption in the preventive detention system was that thecountry’s security and self protection was better than thesuspect’s liberty. As such, America’s terrorism combatant systemfaces delicate balancing on national security and individualliberties. The Bush administration asserted that, only the governmenthad the mandate of determining if particular terrorist suspectdeserved the detention or not based on intelligence report andwithout giving any opportunity to the suspect to defend themselves(Issacharoff &amp Pildes, 2005).

Unlikeother western countries (Israel and Britain) fighting terrorism, theAmericas terrorism combatant policy was unilaterally enacted by thegovernment and has not yet been reviewed for a long time. In thisrespect, America’s detention system does not give any right for thedetainee to defend themselves. While many countries have reviewedtheir policies on prevention detention both for local and non localsuspects, United States still retains its draconian terroristpreventive detention system which does not in any way allow anyliberty to the suspect.

Thepreventive detention system was aimed at facilitating interrogationsand incapacitating suspects’ networks till ‘enemies’’hostilities subsided thereby justifying the need to hold the suspectsindefinitely incommunicado with no criminal charges leveled againstthem (Issacharoff &amp Pildes, 2005). The prevention detentionpolicy was applied to legal residents (United States), and nonlocal(captured abroad) suspected terrorists (Yoo, 2005). There have beenmany court battles to have the detainees both the United States andforeigners have legal rights to challenge their detention, however,such efforts remain unsettled and unclear to date. As such, manyquestions still linger on the fairness, genuineness and justificationof such preventive detention regime (Yoo, 2005).


YooJohn, 2005, “Enemy Combatants and Judicial Competence inTerrorism,the Laws of War, and the Constitution,’ed. Peter Berkowitz (Stanford, CA: Hoover Institution PressPublication, pg 84.

IssacharoffSamuel &amp Pildes Richard. 2005, “Between Civil Libertarianismand Executive Unilateralism: An Institutional Process Approach toRights during Wartime,” in TheConstitution in Wartime,ed. Mark Tushnet (Durham and London: Duke University Press, 181.