NEW YORK Aug 6 Federal prosecutors on Monday
appealed a U.S. judge's order barring enforcement of part of a
law that permits indefinite military detention for those deemed
to have "substantially supported" al Qaeda, the Taliban or
Manhattan federal court Judge Katherine Forrest in May ruled
in favor of activists and reporters who said they feared being
detained under a section of the law, signed by President Barack
Obama in December.
The government says indefinite military detention without
trial is justified in some cases involving militants and their
The judge's preliminary injunction prevents the U.S.
government from enforcing section 1021 of the National Defense
Authorization Act's "Homeland Battlefield" provisions.
The Manhattan U.S. Attorney's office, which represents the
government in this case, along with named defendants Obama and
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta filed its notice of appeal with
the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
The plaintiffs in the case have asked Judge Forrest to make
her injunction permanent. Oral argument on the request is
scheduled for Tuesday.
In court filings, prosecutors have argued that the law is
neither too broad nor overly vague, and that in any event the
plaintiffs do not have standing to bring the case.
The plaintiffs "cannot point to a single example of the
military's detaining anyone for engaging in conduct even
remotely similar to the type of expressive activities they
allege could lead to detention," the United States said in court
documents filed last month.
In issuing her ruling, the judge said she was worried by
the government's reluctance at a March hearing to say whether
examples of the plaintiffs' activities - such as aiding the
anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks in the case of Birgitta
Jonsdottir, a member of parliament in Iceland - would fall under
the scope of the provision.
Plaintiffs also include former New York Times war
correspondent and Pulitzer Prize-winner Chris Hedges.
(Reporting by Basil Katz; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)