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December 10, 2007 - On Monday, December 10, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a ruling in a Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) case that struck down portions of the 1996 Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA) and a set of amendments from 2004 that prohibit providing "material support" to organizations on the State Department's list of "terrorist" organizations.
CCR filed the case on behalf of the Humanitarian Law Project, a Los Angeles-based non-profit with consultative status to the United Nations that advocates for the peaceful resolution of armed conflicts and for worldwide compliance with humanitarian law and human rights law. HLP wanted to assist the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) with conflict resolution and human rights monitoring in Turkey, two organizations that the State Department has designated as "terrorist" organizations.
CCR attorneys argue that the ban on "expert advice and assistance" and on "training" and "personnel" violate the First Amendment, as they are so vague that humanitarian aid could be construed as "material support."
"This statute essentially allows for guilt by association," said CCR attorney Shane Kadidal.
For more on the cases, go to the Humanitarian Law Project, et al. v. Reno case page.
The Center for Constitutional Rights is dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Founded in 1966 by attorneys who represented civil rights movements in the South, CCR is a non-profit legal and educational organization committed to the creative use of law as a positive force for social change.