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Posted: Jan 5 2007, 01:18 AM
Member No.: 331
Joined: 20-October 06
Ali al-Marri, whom the government calls a sleeper agent for Al Qaeda and who is the only person on the American mainland still held as an enemy combatant, spends his days in a small cell in solitary confinement at the Navy brig in Charleston, S.C. When he is in an ironic mood, his lawyers say, he calls the cell his villa.
Mr. Marri waits there for word from his wife, two sons and three daughters, whom he last saw in 2001, just before his arrest in Peoria, Ill., where he was studying computer science at Bradley University.
Letters arrive, but they are late and have words and sentences blacked out. A note his wife sent to him 10 months ago landed recently. It began with a standard Muslim invocation, but a word was missing. Mr. Marri is pretty sure it was “Allah.”
But mostly Mr. Marri waits for word from a federal appeals court, which will soon rule on one of the most urgent questions in American law, one his case presents in stark form: May the government indefinitely detain a foreigner living legally in the United States, without charges and without access to the courts?
Mr. Marri, who is 41 and a citizen of Qatar, wants the right to challenge President Bush’s assertion that he is a terrorist and “a grave danger to the national security of the United States.”