[JURIST] A judge on the US District Court for the District of Columbia [official website] on Wednesday granted habeas [opinion, PDF] to Guantanamo [JURIST news archive] detainee Mohammed El Gharani and directed his release. El Gharani, a Chadian citizen born in Saudi Arabia, was arrested in Pakistan on suspicion of ties to al Qaeda. Judge Richard Leon [official profile; JURIST news archive] ruled that the government had failed to establish by a preponderance of the evidence that El Gharini was an "enemy combatant." Leon wrote:
Simply stated, a mosaic of tiles bearing images this murky reveals nothing about the petitioner with sufficient clarity, either individually or collectively, that can be relied upon by this Court. Accordingly, the Court must, and will, GRANT the detainee's petition for a writ of habeas corpus and order the respondents to take all necessary and appropriate diplomatic steps to facilitate his release forthwith.
Last week, Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly of the same court granted [opinion, PDF; JURIST report] the government's motion to hold in abeyance the habeas corpus petitions of two Guantanamo detainees, but only if and when the charges against the pair are referred to military commissions. In December, Leon ruled that the government could continue to hold two detainees [JURIST report] who had filed habeas petitions challenging their detention, finding the government had met its burden of showing that the men were being lawfully detained under the court's definition of "enemy combatant." In November, Leon ordered the release of five Algerian detainees [JURIST report] in the first rulings on habeas petitions since the June Supreme Court decision [JURIST report] in Boumediene v. Bush [opinion, PDF], granting them the right to challenge their detention.