No Secrecy

A Pennsylvania judge has blocked the deportation of an Egyptian because he might be tortured if he’s sent back to Egypt. The man has been accused by Egypt of murder, so I’m not sure what to think about him but this is very important:

Egypt’s government gave diplomatic assurances that Mr. Khouzam, who fled to the United States almost 10 years ago, would not be tortured upon his return. The office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement decided last June to deport him.

In June, a spokesman for the immigration and customs agency said the assurances made by Egypt were confidential.

In his ruling on Thursday, the judge, Thomas I. Vanaskie of the Middle District of Pennsylvania, said that without an impartial and binding review of those assurances, the procedures established to give protection under the Convention Against Torture “would be a farce.”

It says two things: a private assurance by a country that tortures on a regular basis isn’t good enough and secrecy can be trumped by the rights of individuals. It would be nice if this latter point was applied to other situations.

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Mr. Cheeseburger 9000
    Jan 12, 2008 @ 03:42:14

    The potential impact of this decision is clearly a first step back towards a respect for due process. We’ll definitely see if and when the Bush administration challenges the ruling, and whether other circuits follow the 3rd’s lead.

    The next relevant question from this is what the process will consist of for judicial review. It’s not entirely apparent from the court decision, but the language suggests that a mere in camera review by the judge is enough to satisfy the due process requirement. Sure, it’s not much of a “review,” but at least it’s a start towards the right direction of reviewing detention issues.

    Reply

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