US Resident Waited Nearly Six Years for Fair Trial (UA 48/09)

Victory
March 4, 2009

US Resident Waited Nearly Six Years for Fair Trial (UA 48/09)

Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri, a Qatari national and US resident, was arrested in Illinois in December 2001, but his trial never took place, because on 23 June 2003, President George W. Bush designated him an "enemy combatant." Ali al-Marri was then transferred to the custody of the US Department of Defense and detained in a military facility in Charleston, South Carolina. During the first sixteen months of his military detention, he was held incommunicado and allegedly subjected to torture and other ill-treatment. President Barack Obama has ordered his release from military detention to civilian custody. On 26 February 2009, a federal grand jury in Illinois finally charged Ali al-Marri with a two-count indictment, allowing him to face a fair trial in the US criminal justice system. Amnesty International welcomes the administration's decision to end Ali al-Marri's indefinite military custody and to bring him to trial in an ordinary civilian court. The organization also emphasizes that, presuming that Ali al-Marri is soon transferred for trial, the trial must comply with international standards of fairness and due process, and that under international treaties to which the USA is party, victims of torture and other ill-treatment have the right to redress including rehabilitation and compensation, and victims of unlawful detention have the right to compensation.