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January 04, 2004 

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US court grants Guantanamo rights
Detainees being held by the US military at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba should have access to lawyers and the US court system, a federal appeals court has ruled.

The court said their detention was contrary to US ideals. It did not accept that the US Government had "unchecked authority".

The ruling relates to the case of a Libyan national captured in Afghanistan and currently being held at Guantanamo.

About 660 people are currently being held as "enemy combatants" at the base.

"Even in times of national emergency... it is the obligation of the judicial branch to ensure the preservation of our constitutional values and to prevent the executive branch from running roughshod over the rights of citizens and aliens alike," said the ruling by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

It added it could not accept the position that anyone under the jurisdiction and control of the US could be held without "recourse of any kind to any judicial forum, or even access to counsel, regardless of the length or manner of their confinement".

The decision comes shortly after another US federal appeals court ruled that US authorities did not have the power to detain an American citizen seized on US soil as an "enemy combatant".

That ruling, by the US Second Circuit Court of Appeals, related to the case of so-called "irty bomb" suspect Jose Padilla.


Guardian's consent not required in marriage
The Supreme Court of Pakistan upheld the verdict of Federal Shariat Court allowing adult Muslims girls to marry without consent of their 'wali' (guardian). In a detailed judgement, the apex court observed that female adult is not required the consent of her guardian or father to enter into valid marriage.

The appeal was filed by Hafiz Abdul Waheed against the verdict of Federal Shariat Court. In the mid 90s Waheed's daughter Saima had married without the consent of her father against which a bench of Lahore High Court gave a controversial judgement disallowing adult girls to marry without their free will, a verdict that caused lot of complications for young couples at the hands of the police.

There was lot of controversy at the time of verdict as Waheed, known for his "religious links" accused human rights activist Asama Jehangir of criminal charges. Asma then had raised concerns of her security in wake of threats by Waheed.

The Supreme Court while setting aside the decision of Lahore High Court observed that the marriage in question is not illegal" due to lack of consent of guardian".

The Federal Shariat Court while allowing Muslim girl attaining puberty had declined to give her in the custody of her guardian. Shariat Court had also ruled that admission by a couple of being married would be construed as proof of marriage. Attorney General for Pakistan in his arguments had also supported Shariat Court judgement.

Source: Foundation for the Advancement of Community Education (FACE), Pakistan & BBC News.

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