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Federal judge rejects Guantanamo detainee transfer bid for heart operation

[JURIST] US District Judge Paul L. Friedman [official profile] Monday rejected [official order, PDF] a Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] detainee's petition to have his heart operation transferred to a civilian facility. Saifullah Paracha [advocacy website; Wikipedia profile], a multimillionaire businessman and television producer from Pakistan, petitioned the US District Court for District of Columbia on November 15 to enjoin the US military [JURIST report] from performing a cardiac catheterization [AHA backgrounder] at Guantanamo Bay, claiming the facility lacks sufficient medical equipment and the backup to ensure his health if something goes wrong. Paracha lawyer Gaillard Hunt argued that his client, who has previously suffered two heart attacks, should be transferred to a medical facility in the US or Pakistan. Hunt's claims that Paracha's hands and feet would be shackled during his hospital stay were unconfirmed by government lawyers. US officials, however, asserted that Guantanamo facilities and doctors are adequately prepared to handle the procedure and noted that special equipment and practitioners can be brought in if needed.

In rejecting Paracha’s motion for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction, Friedman opined that the "petitioner has not established that he faces irreparable injury from having the procedure performed at Guantanamo Bay." The US government also noted that an identical procedure was successfully completed in 2003 and that it is Paracha's choice whether to have the operation. US authorities captured Paracha in 2003 on his way to Thailand, where he was detained until October 2004 when he was moved to Guantanamo. AFP has more. The International Herald Tribune has additional coverage.

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