A judge for the US District Court for the District of Columbia [official website] on Wednesday granted the habeas corpus petition of Yemeni citizen Adnan Farhan Abdul Latif [NYT profile] and ordered his immediate release from the Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] detention facility. Latif, who has been in custody for over eight years, contends that he was in Pakistan for medical treatment when he was arrested and turned over to US forces. According to a lawyer for Latif, he suffers from mental illness [Miami Herald report] and depression, and he remains suicidal. The judge ordered the Obama administration to take all necessary steps to ensure that Latif is released. In a separate decision announced Wednesday, a federal judge denied the habeas petition of Guantanamo detainee Abdul-Rahman Sulayman [NYT profile], ruling that he can continue to be held in custody indefinitely. Sulayman has also been in custody for over eight years. The rulings in both cases remain under seal as they are examined for possible security issues. The US Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website] is considering whether to appeal the ruling in Latif's case.
The district court has ruled in favor of the government in 15 habeas corpus cases [JURIST news archive], while Guantanamo detainees have prevailed in 38 cases. Earlier this month, a court of appeals overturned a decision granting habeas relief [JURIST report] to detainee Mohammed al-Adahi, ruling that the evidence, viewed as a whole, supported the conclusion that al-Adahi was part of al Qaeda [JURIST news archive]. Also this month, the appeals court affirmed a lower court ruling denying habeas corpus relief [JURIST report] to Guantanamo detainee Fawzi Khalid Abdullah Fahad Al Odah [JURIST news archive], ruling there was sufficient evidence to consider him part of al Qaeda. In May, the district court ordered the release [JURIST report] of Yemeni Guantanamo Bay detainee Mohammed Hassen [NYT profile]. Hassen had been initially detained in March 2002 following a raid in Faisalabad by Pakistani security forces. He has maintained throughout his detention that he had traveled to Pakistan to study the Qur'an [text] at Salafi University and had no knowledge of al Qaeda prior to his detention.