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Guantanamo detainee appealing suspension of habeas corpus proceedings

[JURIST] A Tajikistan native held at Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] has challenged [appellate brief, PDF] a federal judge's decision to suspend his habeas corpus proceedings after he was cleared for transfer to Tajikistan. Umar Hamzayevich Abdulayev alleges that Judge Reggie Walton of the US District Court for the District of Columbia [official website] abused his discretion in staying indefinitely his petition for habeas corpus after the Joint Task Force [official website] responsible for reviewing Guantanamo Bay detainees had approved him for transfer to Tajikistan. According to the appeal, filed Tuesday in the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit [official website], Abdulayev fears torture and persecution if returned to Tajikistan. Abdulayev argues that the order to stop the review of his case deprives him of his right to challenge his detention and his right not to be transferred to a country where he will be persecuted. Abdulayev's lawyers argued:

The district court eviscerated the clear directives of the Supreme Court of the United States and the plain language of the habeas corpus statute that detainees at Guantanamo have a right to challenge their detention by petitioning the district court for a writ of habeas corpus, that the detainees are entitled to a prompt hearing and that "the costs of delay can no longer be borne by those who are held in custody" — delay that is now rapidly approaching its eighth year.

Abdulayev argues that he is entitled to release into the US if not transferred to a safe country of asylum.

Also this week, lawyers for four Chinese Muslim Uighurs detained at Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] filed a petition for certiorari [JURIST report] with the US Supreme Court [official website], taking issue with the government policy for transferring detainees. The Uighurs are challenging a DC Circuit ruling [JURIST report] that US courts cannot prevent the government from transferring detainees held at Guantanamo Bay to foreign countries on the grounds that detainees may face prosecution or torture in the foreign country. The case, known as Kiyemba II, is separate from a case that the Court agreed to hear last month, known now as Kiyemba I, in which the Uighurs are challenging a DC Circuit ruling that blocked their release [JURIST reports] into the US.

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