news from the ABA Standing Committee: breakfast event with Judge Lamberth re Article III terrorism trials; GTMO/BTIF habeas database; audio of al panels and speakers from the recent Review of the Field Conference

November 24, 2009

A lot of interesting material emerging out of the ABA Standing Committee on Law and National Security

1)     Next Standing Committee Breakfast Program – “Trying Terrorists in Article III Courts” — December 17, 2009 – 8:00 a.m. – University Club – keynote speaker will be Chief Judge Royce C. Lamberth, United States District Court for the District of Columbia. Letter of invitation and registration form attached.

2)     Searchable database created by Standing Committee containing every Guantanamo and Bagram detainee habeas petition brought before the DC courts since the Supreme Court decision – details below

3)     Nineteenth Annual Review Conference audio recording of every panel and keynote speaker now posted on website –

On June 12, 2008, the Supreme Court held in Boumediene v. Bush that: “[T]he costs of delay can no longer be borne by those who are held in custody [at Guantanamo Bay]…The detainees in these cases are entitled to a prompt habeas corpus hearing.” While this ruling established definitively the right of habeas corpus for detainees at Guantanamo, it also left unresolved many important questions about how these habeas petitions would be adjudicated. As a consequence, the DC District Court and Court of Appeals have been charged with deciding such issues as: the substantive scope of the Executive’s detention authority; the reach of the suspension clause to Bagram; whether conditions of confinement are open to habeas challenge; standards for admitting hearsay into evidence; and procedures for handling classified intelligence reports.

In one of his first acts as chair of the Standing Committee, Harvey Rishikof organized a project to document this habeas litigation. The end product of this effort is a searchable database, created by the Standing Committee, containing every Guantanamo and Bagram detainee habeas petition brought before the DC courts since the Supreme Court decision. We hope the database will prove useful to legal scholars, practitioners, and journalists studying this issue, and we encourage you to send along suggestions for improving its functionality to our program assistant, Matt Owens, at

To begin using the database, click HERE.

indictments and other developments in Minneapolis/Somalia investigation; United States v. Tarraf

November 24, 2009

1. Various developments in the Minneapolis/Somalia investigation

Several new developments in the ongoing investigation into the recruitment of young men in the Minneapolis area to travel to Somalia to join al-Shabaab, according to this DOJ National Security Division announcement.  Unfortunately the announcement does not link to the underlying documents (hint, hint), but in any event here is the gist of the announcement:

Terrorism charges have been unsealed today in the District of Minnesota against eight defendants. According to the charging documents, the offenses include providing financial support to those who traveled to Somalia to fight on behalf of al-Shabaab, a designated foreign terrorist organization; attending terrorist training camps operated by al-Shabaab; and fighting on behalf of al-Shabaab.

Thus far, 14 defendants have been charged in the District of Minnesota through indictments or criminal complaints that have been unsealed and brought in connection with an ongoing investigation into the recruitment of persons from U.S. communities to train with or fight on behalf of extremist groups in Somalia. Four of these defendants have previously pleaded guilty and await sentencing. Read the rest of this entry »