Writ of Habeas Corpus in the Context of the War on Terror

During the early 12th century, King John of England was hugely unpopular in his country and was a constant conflict with some wealthy oil barons. The archbishop of Canterbury, in an effort to protect the rights of the church and make the king and the barons be at peace, conceived the Magna Carta. Magna Carta turned out as the Great Charter of the Liberties. The Charter promised the protection of the church’s rights from interference either by the king or the rebel barons. It also promised the barons protection from unfair or illegal imprisonment and limitations to the feudal payments to the crown. A council of 25 barons was necessary for the implementation of the feudal payments (Davis, 2010). King Edward in 1297 later issued this charter in a bid to raise taxes for his indebted monarchial government and to win political support.

Edward institutionalized it as part of the Statute Law hence Giving birth to the genesis of the Habeas Corpus. In the early 16th century, a prominent lawyer who was also a politician. Sir Edward Coke advocated for the common law to override the authority of the king. In addition, the advocacy was for the establishment of civilian power and extension of the civil liberties of the freemen (Halliday, 2010). Coke was instrumental in the drafting of the petition of right. This petition later formed the basis for the English constitution and allowed for specific liberties. Aside from limiting the king from invoking martial law during the times of peace, the petition of right also permitted prisoners to give their views in the circumstances where their detention was questionable. Habeas corpus in England originated among the powerful ruling elites whose intention was to put limitations on the powers of the monarchy. However, over the centuries it evolved to embrace the common man and became integrated as part of the common law. Although the rights of nobles had intended it for the protection of the political prisoners, most of whom were the dissenting nobles received heavy sentences at the whims of the ruling monarch. The writ later grew to embody the rights of individuals that every citizen enjoyed.

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