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Federal judge upholds continued detention of 2 Yemeni Guantanamo detainees

[JURIST] A judge for the US District Court for the District of Columbia [official website] ruled Wednesday that the government can continue to hold indefinitely two Yemeni Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] detainees, even though the men had been cleared for release by the Bush administration two years ago. Judge Gladys Kessler denied the petitions for habeas corpus filed by Fahmi Salem Al-Assani and Suleiman Awadh Bin Agil Al-Nahdi [orders, PDF]. The men had been notified of their release in 2008, but the decision was suspended [Miami Herald report] when President Barack Obama took office. Full text of the opinions explaining Kessler's reasoning will be made public after passing a security clearance.

Nearly half of the 188 prisoners remaining at Guantanamo Bay are from Yemen. Last month, a Yemeni government official said that Yemen will build a rehabilitation center [JURIST report] for Guantanamo Bay detainees. The Obama administration has suspended the transfer [JURIST report] of Guantanamo detainees to Yemen after learning that Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab [BBC profile, JURIST news archive], accused of trying to ignite explosives on a US-bound plane in December, had allegedly received his training in Yemen. Earlier in January, the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit upheld the detention of Yemeni Guantanamo detainee Ghaleb Nassar Al-Bihani, ruling that he can remain in US custody, but, in December, the US government transferred six detainees [JURIST reports] back to Yemen. Also in December, a federal judge granted Yemeni detainee Saeed Hatim's petition for habeas corpus, ordering his release [JURIST report].

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