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Federal judge allows indefinite detention of Guantanamo detainee

A federal judge for the US District Court for the District of Columbia [official website] ruled [order, PDF] Friday that the US government can indefinitely hold an Afghan detainee at the Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] detention facility. The detainee, Shawali Khan [NYT profile], is accused of belonging to Hezb Islami Gulbuddin (HIG) [GlobalSecurity backgrounder], an anti-American insurgency group active in Afghanistan with ties to the Taliban and al Qaeda [JURIST news archive]. Lawyers for Khan have argued that he was a shopkeeper [Miami Herald report] in Kandahar and not involved with fighting against American forces. They contend that Khan was captured by corrupt Afghans who turned him over to American forces and lied about his involvement with insurgents. The defense also presented evidence that HIG had no presence in the Kandahar region when Khan was captured, making his involvement with the group unlikely. The court indicated that a redacted version of the full opinion will be released at a later date.

Last month, a federal judge ordered the release [JURIST report] of Yemeni Guantanamo Bay detainee Adnan Farhan Abdul Latif [NYT profile] citing a lack of evidence proving that Latif was part of a terrorist organization. In July, the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit [official website] released a redacted opinion [JURIST report] holding that evidence against Algerian Guantanamo Bay detainee Belkacem Bensaya must be reviewed to determine if he was "part of" al Qaeda. Circuit Judge Douglas Ginsburg, writing the opinion for the panel, held that there appeared to be no direct evidence linking Bensaya to al Qaeda, and that the government's authority under the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) [text, PDF] only extends to the detention of individuals who are "functionally part of" a terrorist organization. Bensayah was the only one of the six petitioners from the 2008 Boumediene v. Bush [opinion, PDF; JURIST report] decision who was not granted habeas corpus relief after the Supreme Court remanded the case for further review of evidence.

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