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Military Detention Law Blocked by Judge


A federal judge temporarily blocked enforcement of a section of the National Defense Authorization Act that opponents claim allows for indefinite military detention.

U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest in Manhattan today ruled in favor of a group of writers and activists who sued officials including President Barack Obama, claiming the act, signed into law Dec. 31, puts them in fear that they could be arrested and held by U.S. armed forces.

The complaint was filed by a group including former New York Times reporter Christopher Hedges. The plaintiffs contend a section of the law allows for detention of citizens and permanent residents taken into custody in the U.S. on “suspicion of providing substantial support” to people engaged in hostilities against the U.S., such as al-Qaeda.

Hedges said he could be held in custody by federal authorities just for interviewing such individuals, according to court filings. Forrest’s order prevents enforcement of the provision of the statute pending further order of the court or an amendment to the statute by Congress.

The case is Hedges v. Obama, 12-CV-00331, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York(Manhattan).

To contact the reporters on this story: Bob Van Voris in Manhattan federal court atrvanvoris@bloomberg.net; Patricia Hurtado in Manhattan federal court atphurtado@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net.

 

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