Bush disagrees with Supreme Court ruling on Guantanamo

June 13th, 2008 - 7:30 am ICT by IANS  

Rome, June 13 (DPA) US President George W. Bush criticized Thursday a US Supreme Court ruling that allows Guantanamo detainees to challenge their detention in federal courts. “We’ll abide by the court’s decision … That doesn’t mean I have to agree with it,” Bush said speaking at a a news conference in Rome with Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

Earlier Thursday the high court decided 5-4 in favour of the foreign detainees held in Guantanamo on suspicion of terrorism, granting them the right under the US Constitution to challenge their status as “unlawful enemy combatants” and their detention in the prison at the naval station in Cuba.

“It was a deeply divided court, and I strongly agree with those who dissented,” Bush said. “And that dissent was based upon their serious concerns about US national security.”

Bush said his administration will study the ruling.

“We’ll do this with this in mind - to determine whether or not additional legislation might be appropriate so we can safely say to the American people, ‘We’re doing everything we can to protect you.’” The decision marked the third time the Supreme Court has ruled against the Bush administration’s policy for holding and trying detainees in the war on terrorism, and scored a victory for civil rights advocates who charge the White House was denying detainees basic rights under the law.

There are about 270 detainees being held at Guantanamo. Thirteen of them have been charged with crimes and are facing a trial under the military commissions set up by Bush. The Pentagon has said it intends to charge about 80 detainees.

Bush, who is on a his last tour of Europe as president held talks with Berlusconi and, earlier in the day, with Italian President Giorgio Napolitano.

The US president is scheduled to meet Pope Benedict XVI Friday before departing for Paris.

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