Post September 11 detainees at Guantanamo Bay have been assisted by Yale Law Students, under the supervision of one of their professors. The students in the Lowenstein International Human Rights Clinic have helped to write amicus briefs in the US Supreme Court. Their basic issue: ‘Is Guantanamo Bay an American territory?’ The students have already written briefs for groups who successfully petitioned the Supreme Court to hear the cases.

Under the supervision of Yale international law professor Harold Koh, who was recently selected to be the next dean of the Law School, the students have written and will continue to write briefs on cases dealing with similar post-Sept. 11 detainment policies.

New Haven attorney Jonathan Freiman LAW ’97, a supervisor of the clinic, said the law students were working on a brief in the Guantanamo Bay cases Shafiq Rasul v. George W. Bush and Fawzi Khalid Abdullah Fahad Al Odah v. United States on behalf of groups supporting the prisoners’ appeal.

“We received a call asking us to put together a brief representing a diverse coalition of groups from across the political spectrum, to make the argument that there are no lands without law or human rights,” Freiman said.

Mary Hahn LAW ’01, a fellow at the Law School who is also supervising the clinic, said the primary question the students are dealing with in the cases is whether or not the Supreme Court has jurisdiction over prisoners in a military base in Guantanamo Bay. The U.S. government has leased Guantanamo Bay from Cuba since 1903.

Freiman said the students were also preparing a brief to be filed by Wednesday in support of a writ of certiorari for Yaser Esam Hamdi. Hamdi, an American citizen who was captured in Afghanistan, has been held prisoner in a military brig in South Carolina since April 2002 without an attorney or a stated conviction and is appealing the legality of his detention.

Steve Vladeck LAW ’04, a student director of the clinic, said the issues at stake were personal for many of the law students involved. Vladeck said the Sept. 11 attacks occurred during his second day of classes at Yale Law.

“It’s hard to be a law student in today’s environment and not be intrigued and motivated by these issues,” Vladeck said. “They’re so unique, so novel, that any law student would find something compelling about them.”

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