Reuters, The Washington Post, and SCOTUSblog are all reporting that the Department of Justice will file terrorism charges against Ali Saleh Kahlah Al-Marri. Al-Marri is the only "enemy combatant" being held in the United States. He is currently detained at a military facility in Charleston, South Carolina, and has been since 2003. His case is currently on appeal to the Supreme Court after the 4th Circuit found that President Bush did have the power to detain a U.S. citizen, apprehended in the U.S., as an "enemy combatant." If he is in fact charged with a crime and sent to a civilian jail, Al-Marri's sure path to the Supreme Court will be in serious jeopardy. This is because he will no longer be held in military custody as an "enemy combatant", which essentially moots the reasons he is appealing to the Supreme Court. Once he's charged by the DoJ he will be in the civilian justice system, and will obtain the same status as any other civilian prisoner along with all the rights that attach to that status.
The ACLU is representing Al-Marri and a press release from them today contains a quote from Al-Marri's lawyer that urges the Court to hear the case even if Al-Marri is transfered to the civilian system so that this situation cannot happen to anyone ever again.
This is a nice follow on to my earlier post because it shows the best way to deal with any dangerous detainees at Gitmo. If we are going to avoid the problem of not having any place to send the detainees upon the closing of Gitmo then we are going to have to prosecute them through the civilian justice system. It is going to be very hard to find countries that we can send detainees to either because they don't want them or because we know they will torture or kill them. To me civilian prosecution seems the most effective way to deal with the Gitmo detainees.