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Federal judge rules US may continue holding Yemeni Guantanamo detainee

[JURIST] A judge in the US District Court for the District of Columbia [official website] on Wednesday denied [order, PDF] a Yemeni Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] detainee's habeas corpus petition on its merits, allowing the US government to prolong the detention indefinitely. Detainee Makhtar Yahia Naji al Warafi [NYT materials] was captured during the 2001-2002 American intervention campaign in Afghanistan and maintains that he was only a medical clinic worker at the time. The US government alleges that Pentagon intelligence demonstrates Warafi was a trained jihadist [Miami Herald report]. The order by judge Royce Lamberth cites a classified memorandum containing details of the reasoning, which was filed with the court security officer. Also Wednesday, Judge Gladys Kessler of the DC District Court dismissed [text, PDF] without prejudice the habeas corpus petition of Guantanamo detainee Zahar Bin Hamdoun [NYT materials], who was captured in 2002 in Pakistan. Hamdoun's lawyers had requested that the court delay [JNSLP report] proceedings in order to confer with him over new developments pertaining to evidence in the case.

Earlier this week, Judge James Robertson of the DC District Court ordered the release [JURIST report] of Mauritanian Guantanamo Bay detainee Mohamedou Ould Slahi [NYT materials], who had been accused of planning the 9/11 [JURIST news archive] terrorist attacks. Slahi has been in US custody for over seven years and brought a habeas corpus petition, claiming that he had been tortured in prison [Miami Herald report] and had made confessions under duress. In late February, Kessler ruled that the government can continue to hold indefinitely [JURIST report] two Yemeni Guantanamo Bay detainees, even though Fahmi Salem Al-Assani and Suleiman Awadh Bin Agil Al-Nahdi [orders, PDF] had been cleared for release by the Bush administration two years ago. The US government has prevailed in 12 of the 46 habeas corpus cases decided [JURIST news archive] in the DC District Court.

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