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US high court justice gives Guantanamo inmates opening

A US Supreme Court justice on Monday raised questions about the scope of the government’s authority to detain terror suspects at Guantanamo Bay, offering a glimmer of hope to those held for years without charge. The high court refused to hear the appeal of a Yemeni man held for 12 years at the US military prison in Cuba, letting stand a lower court ruling that he could be detained simply because he was found to be “part of al-Qaeda or the Taliban at the time of his apprehension.” Progressive Justice Stephen Breyer, while concurring with that decision, issued a statement outlining several areas which the court has yet to address regarding the government’s detention authority. Breyer said the court had not looked on whether the US military could hold someone who was not “engaged in an armed conflict against the United States’ in Afghanistan prior to his capture” — even if that person was a member of Al-Qaeda or the Taliban.

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