We just found out that the Third Circuit Court of Appeals denied the government’s request for a stay of the release of Sameh Khouzam. Unless the government tries any other legal maneuvering, Sameh will walk out of York County Prison tomorrow a free man with protection from the Convention Against Torture.
There was quite a bit of media coverage, both national and in PA, on the decision last week. The best story I saw was in the New York Times, which included insight from academics on how this case will affect future cases.
Philip G. Schrag, a professor of law at Georgetown University and an expert on asylum issues, said the ruling was significant.
“The importance of this case,” he said, “lies in its rejection of the Bush administration’s claim that secret diplomatic assurances by a foreign government that it will not torture a person preclude judicial review.”
The American Civil Liberties Union, which represented Mr. Khouzam, echoed that view. And Marc D. Falkoff, assistant professor of law at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb and counsel for 16 Yemenis held at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, said the ruling could have sweeping implications for those detained at Guantánamo.
“It’s tremendously important,” Mr. Falkoff said. “It’s not a binding precedent outside the jurisdiction of the Third Circuit but the ruling has persuasive authority in any federal court and, without a doubt, it will be brought to the attention of any federal judge who has a case pending where a detainee or prisoner is challenging the government’s right to transfer him to a country where he might be tortured.”
Andy in Harrisburg