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2nd Gitmo prisoner cleared for repatriation

The Supreme Court has cleared the way for the U.S. to send two Guantanamo Bay prisoners back to Algeria, even though they want to remain at the prison camp at the U.S. naval base in Cuba because of fear they might be tortured at home.

Justices on Saturday declined to hear the appeal of Aziz Abdul Naji, held at Guantanamo since 2002 after being captured in Pakistan. That ruling follows the high court’s decision late Friday that allowed the U.S. government to proceed in transferring another Algerian detainee back home.

Both detainees had argued they would be harmed by the Algerian government or unaffiliated armed Islamic militants if they were to be released.

They are among six Algerian detainees at Guantanamo who say they would rather remain at the prison camp in Cuba than return to their home country, where political turmoil has claimed thousands of lives in recent years.

A federal judge this year initially barred the U.S. government from repatriating one of the detainees to Algeria until there were more assurances that he would be treated humanely. An appeals court later overturned that order.

On Friday, the Supreme Court — with Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor dissenting — backed the decision of the appeals court in saying the detainee should be sent back.

The U.S. government says it has assurances that the Algerian detainees will not be abused.

NEW YORK

Governor signs stop-frisk data law

NEW YORK | Gov. David A. Paterson signed legislation Friday that would stop New York City police from storing the names of hundreds of thousands of people who were stopped and frisked without facing charges, calling the practice “not a policy for a democracy.”

Mr. Paterson signed the law over vehement objections of New York City’s mayor and police commissioner, who said the city was losing a key crime-fighting tool.

“This law does not in any way tamper with our stop-and-frisk policies,” Mr. Paterson said. “What it does is, it disallows the use of personal data of innocent people who have not done anything wrong. … That is not a policy for a democracy.”

Last year alone, the New York Police Department stopped 575,304 people, mostly black and Hispanic men, and recorded their names, addresses and descriptions into an electronic database. The stops are based on a standard of reasonable suspicion, lower than the standard of probable cause needed to justify an arrest. Only about 6 percent of those stopped are arrested.

Critics have said information from such stops are an invasion of privacy and can lead to future police suspicion and surveillance.

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