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President Abraham Lincoln succeeded in having the writ of habeas corpus procedure suspended during the Civil War, allowing for the imprisonment of members of the military, prisoners of war, and suspected spies or traitors to be held for the duration of the war without trial. Confederate President Jefferson Davis also suspended habeas corpus in the Confederate States of America.
The writ of habeas corpus was also suspended during World War II in the case of persons of Japanese ancestry and in connection with some German prisoners held in the United States.
In recent years, suspension of the writ of habeas corpus has been proposed in regards to individuals arrested and accused or suspected of participating in acts of terrorism. This has become a controversial topic; in general, citizens of the United States must come under the protection of habeas corpus, whereas foreign aliens were recently held at Guantanamo Bay without trial. Conflicting interpretations of the Constitution and of procedures to be followed in these cases continue to be handed down by different levels of the federal and military court systems.
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