US judge's rule protects activists in Middle East

By REUTERS
September 13, 2012 02:00

 
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NEW YORK - A federal judge made permanent on Wednesday her order blocking enforcement of a US law's provision that authorizes military detention for people deemed to have "substantially supported" al-Qaida, the Taliban or "associated forces."

US District Judge Katherine Forrest in Manhattan had ruled in May in favor of non-profit groups and reporters whose work relates to conflicts in the Middle East and who said they feared being detained under a section of the law, signed by President Barack Obama in December.

Wednesday's 112-page opinion turns the temporary injunction of May into a permanent injunction. The United States appealed on August 6.

The permanent injunction prevents the US government from enforcing a portion of Section 1021 of the National Defense Authorization Act's "Homeland Battlefield" provisions.

The opinion stems from a January lawsuit filed by former New York Times war correspondent and Pulitzer Prize winner Chris Hedges and others. The plaintiffs said they had no assurance that their writing and advocacy activities would not fall under the scope of the provision.

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