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U.S. Appeals Order Blocking U.S. Military Detention Law

The U.S. appealed an order permanently blocking enforcement of a law that opponents claim may subject them to indefinite military detention for activities including news reporting and political activism.

Lawyers from the office of U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara in Manhattan today filed papers seeking review of yesterday’s ruling on the law, which is part of the National Defense Authorization Act for 2012. In the ruling, U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest said the law is unconstitutionally vague.

Forrest extended a preliminary injunction she had entered in May and said that the statute violates rights guaranteed by the First, Fifth and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.

The suit challenging the law was filed Jan. 13 by a group including former New York Times reporter Christopher Hedges. The plaintiffs contend that Section 1021(b)(2) 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 groups engaged in hostilities against the U.S. such as al-Qaeda and the Taliban.

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

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