US Supreme Court won’t take up Guantanamo detainee case

In this June 27, 2006 file photo, reviewed by a U.S. Department of Defense official, U.S. military guards walk within Camp Delta military-run prison, at the Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval Base, Cuba. (AP)
Updated 11 October 2017
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US Supreme Court won’t take up Guantanamo detainee case

WASHINGTON: The US Supreme Court on Tuesday refused an appeal bid by one of Guantanamo’s most famous detainees, backing the legitimacy of the special military courts in place at the US naval base in Cuba.
The decision confirms the life sentence handed to Ali Hamza Ahmad Al-Bahlul, a lieutenant of Osama bin Laden, and held in Guantanamo since 2002.
The Yemeni, identified as the former propagandist of Al-Qaeda, appealed his conviction in 2008 for criminal conspiracy.
According to his lawyers, this charge should have been brought before a federal civil court and not a military court.
The Supreme Court move is good news to Donald Trump’s administration. He has spoken in favor of resorting more to using Guantanamo facilities and courts.
A number of men suspected of involvement in the September 11, 2001 attacks are still awaiting trial on the US base.
In an important decision called “Boumediene vs Bush,” the US Supreme Court in 2008 allowed Guantanamo detainees to challenge the validity of their detention before American civil courts.
But the Supreme Court has since refrained from widening the scope for questioning the actions of the Guantanamo court.


Malaysia to push Southeast Asian nations for long-term solution to smog

Updated 19 September 2019

Malaysia to push Southeast Asian nations for long-term solution to smog

  • Malaysia and neighboring Singapore have been choked by smoky air blown in from forest fires started to clear land for plantations
  • The situation forced schools to shut and many people to wear masks so as to avoid inhaling smog particles

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia will push its Southeast Asian neighbors to strengthen cooperation in finding a long-term solution for smog wafted across the region from forest fires in Indonesia, its environment minister said on Thursday.
In the past few weeks, Malaysia and neighboring Singapore have been choked by smoky air blown in from forest fires started to clear land for plantations, forcing schools to shut and many people to wear masks so as to avoid inhaling smog particles.
“I will have a conference call with the ASEAN secretary-general to raise our views and also express our hope for a more effective mechanism at the ASEAN level for a long-term solution,” Environment Minister Yeo Bee Yin told a news conference, but did not elaborate on other participants.
All three countries belong to the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), which set up a regional haze action plan in 1997, but Malaysia thinks the grouping has not done enough to evolve a long-term solution.
Among its efforts to tackle the hazard, Malaysia could pass a new law to punish any of its companies responsible for starting fires, but only international cooperation could yield a lasting solution, Yeo added.
“Cloud seeding is only temporary. A law here would only deal with Malaysian companies. What we need is international cooperation for a long-term solution.”
On Tuesday, Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad had said Malaysia was considering a new law to compel its companies to tackle fires on land they control abroad.
Yeo said Malaysia will keep up cloud seeding efforts to bring temporary relief in badly-hit areas. This involves spraying chemicals, such as sodium chloride and magnesium oxide, from aircraft in order to spur rainfall.
Malaysia will also consider deploying drones to help in cloud seeding, Mahathir told a separate news conference.
Malaysia’s Islamic Development Department issued the text of a special plea for divine intervention to disperse the smog, to be recited after weekly prayers on Friday by mosque congregations nationwide.