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US Court to Reconsider Government Detention Powers


A U.S. federal court has agreed to reconsider a previous court ruling that prevents the Bush administration from detaining a civilian terrorism suspect in the U.S.

The Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals acted Wednesday to allow an expanded panel of judges to re-hear arguments on the government's power to detain Qatari citizen and alleged al-Qaida agent Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri.

The new round of arguments will begin at the end of October.

The government had originally labeled al-Marri an enemy combatant, accusing him of links to al-Qaida terrorists. But in June, a three-judge panel ordered the government to try al-Marri in a civilian court or release him.

Al-Marri has been held in a U.S. Navy brig since 2003 without any charges filed against him.

The panel ruled in June that the military could not seize and imprison civilians in the United States, let alone detain them indefinitely.

The government says President Bush has the power to order the indefinite detention of suspected terrorists inside the U.S.

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