Appeals Court Rules No Right to Trial for U.S. Citizen

Human Rights First expressed disappointment in the decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, issued on September 9, 2005, to uphold the detention without trial of U.S. citizen Jose Padilla. Mr. Padilla was first arrested in Chicago in 2002, and shortly after, President Bush declared him to be an “enemy combatant” and ordered him transferred to military custody. The Appeals Court reversed a federal district court’s finding that Mr. Padilla’s detention violated the Constitution and law of the United States, and its order that the government release Mr. Padilla or prosecute him in criminal proceedings.

“The court’s ruling effectively declares the entire world — including the United States — to be a battlefield subject to military jurisdiction, where American citizens can be stripped of their Constitutional rights,” said Deborah Pearlstein, Director of Human Rights First’s U.S. Law and Security Program. “We expect the Supreme Court will take up this historic case, and we are confident that the courts will ultimately affirm the due process rights of all U.S. citizens.”

Human Rights First filed an amicus brief in the case signed by former Attorney General Janet Reno and other former Justice Department and intelligence officials in support of Mr. Padilla, arguing that numerous laws existed under which he could be charged.

For more information on the case go to:


Published on September 9, 2005


Seeking asylum?

If you do not already have legal representation, cannot afford an attorney, and need help with a claim for asylum or other protection-based form of immigration status, we can help.