Archive for February 14th, 2012
A strong title for a sickening situation. Eric L. Lewis has this op-ed in the NY Times:
THE British government will be held in contempt of court later this week if it does not physically produce a prisoner of war whom its special forces captured in 2004 and then handed over to American soldiers.
The current legal drama began in February 2004, when two Pakistani rice merchants, Yunus Rahmatullah and Amanatullah Ali, disappeared on a business trip to Iran. They were held incommunicado for nearly a year before their families learned that they had been captured by British forces in Iraq and then turned over to American soldiers.
The two men were transferred in accordance with an American-British-Australian agreement mandating observance of the Geneva Conventions and stipulating that all prisoners must be returned, if requested, to the country that originally transferred them.
Several weeks later, American forces put both men on a plane and sent them to Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan, where they have been held for the past seven years in conditions far worse than those at Guantánamo Bay. During those seven years, no charges have been filed against them, and both the British and American governments have refused to provide any hearing or account for their continued detention.
A British human rights organization, Reprieve, sought a writ of habeas corpus in the British courts on behalf of Mr. Rahmatullah. An American human rights organization, the International Justice Network, on whose board of directors I serve, sought a writ of habeas corpus on behalf of Mr. Ali in the United States courts. A bulwark against arbitrary or incommunicado detention since the 14th century, habeas corpus requires that the jailer produce the prisoner in court and provide the court with a legal justification for his continued custody.
In the sort of Catch-22 that happens daily in the world of detainee litigation, the British argued that habeas corpus did not apply because the government no longer held the prisoner and did not know whether it could get him back, despite its treaty rights. The American government claimed that habeas corpus did not apply because American courts had no authority over the Bagram base, as it was in a war zone, despite the fact that Mr. Ali had been flown into that war zone.
The English Court of Appeal has now ordered that the writ be granted and that the British foreign and defense secretaries produce Mr. Rahmatullah at the Royal Courts of Justice in London by Feb. 14 or be held in contempt. The order informs the cabinet secretaries that if they fail to produce him, the court will “be moved to commit you to prison for your contempt in not obeying the said writ.” (The American courts have not yet issued a decision in Mr. Ali’s case, and those of us representing him may file suit in Britain.)
The English court’s decision is a brave and serious attempt to halt America’s and Britain’s dangerous legal minuet. “Depriving a prisoner of war of the rights of fair and regular trial,” the court held, is a grave breach of the Geneva Conventions.
The Third Geneva Convention requires that . . .
There was a Monty Python routine built on meta-remarks—a letter being dictated, I think, with the stenographer unfailingly taking letter content as instructions to her and instructions to her as letter content. It’s all humor of the “Walk this way” variety, and unfailingly funny to me. It’s too bad the “a” was omitted from the first “Arabic” in order to make the lines justify correctly, especially given that “No Smoking” requires a space, so that the “a” would make the lines justify. So it goes.
UPDATE: The above also reminds me how in movies we learn that German is simply English spoken with a heavy German accent. So, when you boil it down, all that fancy script and foreign words can simply be finessed in spoken conversation by SPEAKING LOUDLY and in written communication by adding the magic words “in Arabic”, which makes it readable by natives.
Interesting article in Salon by Taiseer Khatib:
This Valentine’s Day, I live in fear of being separated from my wife by the force of the Israeli state and the whim of bureaucrats enforcing a discriminatory law that can separate Palestinian citizens of Israel from Palestinian spouses from the occupied West Bank. This fear will hang over us for years if the “Citizenship and Entry Into Israel Law” is not revoked as the state can use this law to separate me from my family
Lana, my wife, is from Jenin in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. She has a diploma in economics from Al-Najah University in Nablus. We met and fell in love in Jenin in late 2002 after Israel’s destruction of the Jenin refugee camp during the second intifada. She moved to Israel in 2005 to live with me. We now have two children, Adnan, who is 4 and a half years old and Yosra, who is 3 and a half years old. My family means the world to me and yet our standing in Israel is extremely tenuous because of my ongoing failed effort to secure citizenship for my wife.
Despite the might of the Israeli government arrayed against us, Lana and I persevere because love is a force far more powerful than the state. No matter the government responsible for repression, whether in apartheid South Africa, the Jim Crow South, or elsewhere, love has always been more powerful. We knew the risks when we married after the law passed in 2003. But we were determined not to allow an apartheid state that discriminates against Palestinians on both sides of the Green Line to disrupt our love.
Lana’s residency has so far been possible only through yearly extensions of her permission to stay in Israel. Yet these have been entirely subject to the arbitrary discretion of Israel’s Interior Ministry and its security services. She has no legal or social rights, nor the possibility of obtaining health insurance or social security. She is not allowed to hold a job or drive a car. She is, by any fair reckoning, a third-class resident of Israel.
Lana used to be an independent woman – having worked for four years in the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Jenin – but today, in “modern” Israel, she is now totally dependent on me. Our home, rather than a haven, has become her prison. She is stuck and there is no immediate prospect of release. This situation causes her and us permanent frustration. “I feel my freedom was stolen from me by this racist law,” she says. “It doesn’t matter where you live, you are always controlled and denied rights by the state of Israel, [merely] because I am Palestinian.”
We are not alone. There are tens of thousands of other Palestinian families targeted by the so-called Citizenship Law. Originally promulgated in 2003, it prohibits Palestinians without Israeli citizenship from joining their spouses in Israel or seeking eventual rights of residence. There is no comparable prohibition against family unification for non-Palestinian citizens of Israel, i.e., the country’s present-day Jewish majority.
The law explicitly discriminates on the basis of race. Notwithstanding this fact, the Israeli Supreme Court of Justice earlier this year rejected a final appeal against the law. . .
I cannot for the life of me understand why some are so eager to have a war with Iran. One thought that occurs to me is that the pundits most enthusiastic for war not only will avoid the fighting, they in fact have avoided military service altogether. Brave at their typewriters, they call for war as casually as they’d order lunch. They have learned nothing.
I used the little Czech & Speake travel soap today, using my Pogonotomy 2011 horsehair brush, which made a fine lather. Three passes with the Weber holding a Swedish Gillette blade, and then a splash of Captain’s Choice Bay Rum.
Eye coming along. Glad to cut out that one med.