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Bush suffers setback on Guantanamo prisoners

world Updated: Jun 12, 2008 22:37 IST

The US Supreme Court on Thursday ruled detainees held in the US military base at Guantanamo Bay have the right to appeal to federal courts in a blow to the Bush administration.

The court ruled that detainees in the US jail in southern Cuba "have the constitutional privilege of habeas corpus,” in the third ruling on Guantanamo against the current administration of President George W Bush.

By a vote of five to four, the court found that even if the base was officially on Cuban territory, it was in fact operating as if it were on American soil and therefore the detainees had the same constitutional rights as all Americans.

“We hold these petitioners do have the habeas corpus privilege,” Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote for the court majority in the 70-page opinion.

He said that Congress had failed to create an adequate alternative for the prisoners held at the US military base in Cuba to contest their detention.