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NASABA Denounces Graham-Levin Amendment with Letter to U.S. Congress


Emerging Legal Organization Attacks Bill That Targets Many South Asian American Detainees

WASHINGTON, DC -- The North American South Asian Bar Association (NASABA)submitted a letter to the Chairs and Ranking members of the Senate and House Judiciary and Armed Services Committees, urging Congress to reject the Graham-Levin Amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act. In the letter, NASABA condemned the Amendment as an “an affront to the core democratic principles for which the United States stands.”

The Graham-Levin Amendment was passed as a part of the National Defense Authorization Act in the Senate on November 15, 2005, and significantly limits the right of habeas corpus review for detainees, many of whom are of South Asian decent,at the Guantánamo Bay prison camp.

“Prior to this amendment the detainees had the right to challenge before a court whether they were properly imprisoned, with a full review of their status and circumstances,” says Ami Gadhia, Chair of NASABA’s Human Rights Committee. “Under this Amendment, however, the only thing that can be reviewed by a court is whether the Combatant Status Review Tribunal followed its own procedures, and whether subjecting an ‘alien enemy’ to the procedures is consistent with the Constitution.”

Supporters of the Amendment have claimed that the writ of habeas corpus should not be available to terrorists.

“But they make a huge assumption that all of the detainees at Guantanamo are in fact terrorists,” responds Gadhia. According to the Wall Street Journal, 70 percent of the detainees there may be wrongfully imprisoned.

NASABA has a growing record of advocacy on behalf of the South Asian community. Recently, the organization has helped obtain Temporary Protected Status for tsunami and earthquake-affected nationals from South Asia. The organization has seen an increase in chapter growth and membership as many more South Asian American Attorneys are getting involved across the US to strengthen their professional development and betterment of the community.


The North American South Asian Bar Association advocates for the South Asian community; promotes alliances between South-Asian legal professionals in the US and Canada; helps law students and those interested in the law develop contacts with practitioners; and provides an avenue for professionals and other community leaders to take an interest in matters of concern to the South-Asian community.


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