Overseas Civilian Contractors

News and issues relating to Civilian Contractors working Overseas

Civilian appeals conviction by military court

By MARK SHERMAN, 06.01.11, 05:52 PM EDT AP at Forbes

ARLINGTON, Va. — The first civilian convicted by a military court in more than 40 years is arguing that the Constitution forbids military justice for civilians.

A lawyer for former Army translator Alaa “Alex” Mohammad Ali told an Army appeals court Wednesday that upholding Ali’s conviction would be a “slippery slope” that would lead to increased use of military courts for civilians

Ali, an Iraqi-Canadian, was prosecuted by the military after an altercation in Iraq during which he allegedly stole a U.S. soldier’s knife and used it to stab another translator. He pleaded guilty to lesser charges.

The case is the first under a 2006 law making it easier to bring criminal charges against civilians working for the U.S. military. Defendants have fewer rights in military than in U.S. civilian courts.

The 2006 provision was intended to close a legal loophole that made military prosecution of civilians very difficult without a formal declaration of war by Congress. The fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq has occurred without a congressional war declaration.

In a series of rulings dating back to the 1950s, the Supreme Court has greatly narrowed the use of courts martials for civilians.

Please read the entire story here

June 1, 2011 - Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Iraq, Legal Jurisdictions | , , ,

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