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Top US Court Declines to Hear Guantanamo Prisoners' Appeal

The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to hear the appeal of Guantanamo prisoners who want the right to challenge their detention in U.S. federal courts.

In a divided vote, with six justices supporting the decision and three justices dissenting, the court said it would not rule on the constitutionality of a tough anti-terrorism law that denies prisoners the ability to have a federal judge review their detention.

Congress enacted the law last October, after the Supreme Court struck down the previous military tribunal system for the detainees created by President Bush after the September 11, 2001, attacks. After that ruling, President Bush sought new powers to detain and try prisoners under anti-terrorism laws.

There are currently about 395 detainees being held at the Guantanamo detention center on a U.S. naval base in Cuba. Some prisoners have been held for more than five years and most have not been formally charged.

Human rights activists have accused the U.S. military of violating international law by using inhumane treatment against terrorism suspects.

Several U.S. allies have called on President Bush to close the detention center. The Bush administration has refused, arguing it needs special legal provisions for detaining and trying terrorism suspects.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.