A year from now, the U.S. prison camp at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, will be empty. But another American detention facility—the one in Bagram, Afghanistan—is quietly expanding. More than 600 terror suspects are currently behind bars at the Bagram facility, and construction is already underway to build enough cells to hold 500 more. In the meantime, American lawyers are mobilizing. Some of the same attorneys and human rights activists who fought successfully to bring judicial oversight to Guantánamo are now pushing for similar measures at Bagram. At the heart of the looming legal showdown is the same fundamental question asked in the Gitmo litigation: Are detainees in a U.S. military prison overseas—including those captured in an active war zone—entitled to challenge their detention in the American court system? Absolutely not, says the Justice Department. “To stretch [constitutional protections] to Bagram under these circumstances would lead to the anomalous result that any alien enemy engaged in warfare abroad and detained by the United States anywhere in the world can petition U.S. civilian courts for review of the military’s decision to detain them.”
Gitmo is shutting down, but another U.S. prison camp is expanding. Call the human rights lawyers.