US judge blocks indefinite military detention provision

Reuters News
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Posted: May 18, 2012 3:18 PM
US judge blocks indefinite military detention provision

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A judge on Wednesday blocked enforcement of a recently enacted law's provision that authorizes indefinite military detention for those deemed to have "substantially supported" al Qaeda, the Taliban or "associated forces."

District Judge Katherine Forrest in Manhattan ruled in favor of a group of civilian activists and journalists who said they feared being detained under a section of the law, which was signed by U.S. President Barack Obama in December 2011.

"In the face of what could be indeterminate military detention, due process requires more," the judge said.

She added that it was in the public interest to reconsider the law so that "ordinary citizens are able to understand the scope of conduct that could subject them to indefinite military detention."

By issuing a preliminary injunction, the judge prevents the U.S. government from enforcing section 1021 of the National Defense Authorization Act's "Homeland Battlefield" provisions.

(Reporting By Basil Katz; Editing by Peter Cooney)