Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Bush signs bill~Prisoners lose right to Habeas Corpus

Bush Signs Law on Terror Suspects

Tuesday October 17, 2006 3:01 PM


Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Bush signed legislation into law Tuesday that authorizes tough interrogation of terror suspects and smooths the way for their trials before military commissions but also gives detainees some legal protections.

Bush's plan for treatment of the terror suspects became law just six weeks after he acknowledged that the CIA had been secretly interrogating suspected terrorists overseas and pressed Congress to quickly give authority to try them in military commissions.

``With the bill I'm about to sign, the men our intelligence officials believe orchestrated the murder of nearly 3,000 innocent people will face justice,'' Bush said.

The bill would protect detainees from blatant abuses during questioning - such as rape, torture and ``cruel and inhuman'' treatment - but does not require that any of them be granted legal counsel. Also, it specifically bars detainees from filing habeas corpus petitions challenging their detentions in federal courts.

White House press secretary Tony Snow said that after Bush signs the legislation Tuesday, the government will immediately begin moving toward the goal of prosecuting some of the high-value suspects being held at the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. He expected it would take a month or two to get ``things moving toward a trial phase.''

``In terms of having trials, for good and obvious reasons, you don't do that overnight,'' Snow told reporters. ``You do have to make sure that the defense is going to be able to do its job properly and the prosecution the same.''

The swift implementation of the law is a rare bit of good news for Bush as casualties mount in Iraq in daily violence. Lawmakers are increasingly calling for a change of strategy and political anxieties are jeopardizing Republican's chances of hanging onto control of Congres

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