On Friday the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights agreed to consider the case of an Algerian man presently detained at the American prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Djamel Ameziane has been imprisoned at the infamous detention facility for over a decade without being apprised of the charges against him and without appearing a single time before a judge or magistrate.
The Center for Constitutional Rights and the Center for Justice and International Law, the two civil rights advocacy groups that are providing legal counsel to Ameziane, claim that this is the first case over which the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights has agreed to exercise its jurisdiction. Also reported by the legal team was the claim that the commission will not publicly comment on such a matter until after the parties involved have been apprised of the decision.
The hearing is the result of a petition filed in August 2008 with the judicial arm of the Organization of American States by the Algerian native. In the plea, Ameziane asserts that he is being tortured at the hands of his American military captors (including water torture) and that his detention is per se illegal given the U.S. government’s refusal to inform him of any charges or to permit him access to a judge for review of any alleged crimes he is suspected of having committed.
In fact, as part of a habeas corpus petition filed on behalf of Ameziane, Burlington, Vermont-based attorney Robert D. Rachlin argued, “There's nothing here that shows that he so much as held a firearm or did anything against the United States — he's one of those guys who were at the wrong place at the wrong time. There's nothing more here than guilt by association.”
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