“Freedom is not a gift bestowed upon us by other men but a

right that belongs to us by the laws of god and nature”

–Benjamin Franklin

Habeas corpus is the Latin for “you shall have the body” in court. The origins of Habeas corpus lie in the darkest corridors of English common law, perhaps it is derived from the Roman civil law. It is a writ requiring a person under arrest or detention, to be brought into court or a judge to determine the legality of detention. It was particularly used to secure a person’s release unless followed by lawful grounds. Basically to ensure that no one can be imprisoned unlawfully, later developed a cornerstone of Rule of Law.

The act was passed by English parliament in 1679 as kings would quaintly intervene on matters of incarceration Many times in history, the law has been barred, especially in matters of war. It was suspended in 1783 when concerns grew that the French revolution might create instability in England. Similarly, during the American Civil War, the writ of habeas corpus was suspended by President Abraham Lincoln to prevent obstruction. These power was again restored in World War 2 to detain Jews in Germany.