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DC Circuit affirms habeas denial for Guantanamo detainee

The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit [official website] on Tuesday affirmed [opinion, PDF] the district court's denial of a writ of habeas corpus for Guantanamo detainee Abdul Razak Ali. Ali, who was captured in 2002 during an 18-day stay at a Pakistan guesthouse with al Qaeda-associated terrorist leader Abu Zubaydah and other terrorist trainers, alleges that he mistook the location for a "public guesthouse" and asserted in his petition that the government has failed to justify his detention. This "guilty by guesthouse" argument was rejected by the court with Judge Kavanaugh stating that "This is not a criminal proceeding in which the Government asks a court to find Ali guilty and punish him," but rather a "military detention." Senior Circuit Judge Edwards, in a concurring opinion, expressed concern over the indefinite duration of Ali's detention, stating "It seems bizarre, to say the least, that someone like Ali, who has never been charged with or found guilty of a criminal act and who has never 'planned, authorized, committed, or aided [any] terrorist attacks,' is now marked for a life sentence."

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) [official website] announced [JURIST report] in July it would hear a case brought by Abu Zubaydah, also currently detained at Guantanamo Bay, against Poland for allegedly acquiescing to the torture of extradited prisoners by CIA agents. In September 2012, Chief Judge Lamberth of the US District Court for the District of Columbia [official website] rejected proposed restrictions [JURIST report] on lawyers representing Guantanamo detainees who have been denied habeas corpus. The court initially denied Ali's petition [JURIST report] for habeas corpus in January 2011, ruling that US officials acted on sufficient evidence of Ali's association with Abu Zubaydah.

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