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Federal judge declines to intervene for release of Guantanamo prisoner

[JURIST] A judge for the US District Court for the District of Columbia on Wednesday refused to intervene [opinion, PDF] to overturn a Defense Department [official websites] decision to continue the detention of Algerian prisoner Sufyian Barhoumi [CCR backgrounder]. Responding to an emergency court petition [text, PDF], District Judge Rosemary Collyer declined to release Barhoumi, who had his repatriation granted by a government review board, but ultimately overruled by Defense Secretary Ash Carter [official website]. Barhoumi's attorney, Shayana Kadidal [CCR profile], argued that Barhoumi would be at risk of not making it out of Guantanamo Bay prison under the Trump administration, which has committed [WP report] to maintaining Guantanamo Bay for future prisoner detention. Kadidal indicated that he was surprised by the Defense Department's decision to deny repatriation, considering that the government had determined Barhoumi to be no threat to the United States. Collyer stated that the defense secretary has the authority to continue Barhoumi's detention, and therefore chose not to overrule it.

President Barack Obama sought to close [JURIST report] Guantanamo Bay prison while in office. Pursuant to that goal, the Obama administration has been finding new places to house detainees. Earlier this week Oman's Foreign Ministry announced [JURIST report] that it accepted 10 detainees from Guantanamo Bay upon request from the Obama administration. Last month a detainee was transferred [JURIST report] from Guantanamo Bay to the government of Cape Verde, a small country off the Western coast of Africa. In September the Obama administration shut down [JURIST report] Camp 5 of Guantanamo Bay, which was a 100-cell maximum security prison. In August Vice President Joe Biden stated at a press conference in Sweden that he hoped and expected [JURIST report] that the Guantanamo prison would be closed before President Barack Obama leaves office. Currently 45 prisoners remain at the detention facility.

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