Federal judge grants Yemeni Guantanamo detainee&#39;s <i>habeas</i> petition

Federal judge grants Yemeni Guantanamo detainee's habeas petition

[JURIST] A judge in the US District Court for the District of Columbia [official website] ruled [opinion, PDF] in an opinion unsealed Friday that the US lacks enough evidence to justify the continued detention of Yemeni national Mohammed al-Adahi, granting al-Adahi's petition for habeas corpus [LLI materials]. The government argued that al-Adahi, who has been detained at Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] since 2002, was a supporter or member of the Taliban and/or al-Qaeda, claiming that al-Adahi had acted as an instructor at al Qaeda camp al Farouq, had familial ties to both the Taliban and al Qaeda, had been employed as a bodyguard for Osama bin-Laden and that al-Adahi's story lacked credibility. In ordering al-Adahi's release Judge Gladys Kessler [official profile] of the stated:

There is no reliable evidence in the record that Petitioner was a trainer at Al Farouq, that he ever fought for al-Qaida and/or the Taliban, or that he affirmatively provided any actual support to al-Qaida and/or the Taliban. There is no reliable evidence in the record that Petitioner was a member of al-Qaida and/or the Taliban. While it is tempting to be swayed by the fact that Petitioner readily acknowledged having met Bin Laden on two occasions and admitted that perhaps his relatives were bodyguards and enthusiastic followers of Bin Laden, such evidence-sensational and compelling as it may appear–does not constitute actual, reliable evidence that would justify the Government's detention of this man.

The government may continue to detain al-Adahi while it seeks to find a country willing to accept him according to a federal court's 2009 decision in Kiyemba v. Obama [opinion, PDF; JURIST report].

Since the US Supreme Court's June 2008 ruling in Boumediene v. Bush [opinion, PDF; JURIST report] that Guantanamo detainees could challenge their imprisonment in federal court through the use of habeas corpus motions, several detainees have done so, and many have been granted release. On Wednesday, the DC District Court unsealed an opinion issued last week denying [opinion, PDF; JURIST report] the habeas petition of another Yemeni detainee, Adham Mohammed Ali Awad. Although the petition was denied, the judge stated, "The case against Awad is gossamer thin. The evidence is of a kind fit only for these unique proceedings … and has very little weight. In the end, however, it appears more likely than not, that Awad was, for some period of time, 'part of' al Qaeda." Last month, Guantanamo detainee Mohammed Jawad was ordered released [JURIST report] when a federal judge granted his habeas petition. Jawad's release came less than two weeks after the same judge ordered that all of Jawad's statements elicited by torture be suppressed [JURIST report]. Jawad faced charges of attempted murder [JURIST report] for a grenade attack on US soldiers in Kabul in 2002. Also last month, a federal judge ordered the release [JURIST report] of Kuwaiti Guantanamo Bay detainee Khaled Al-Mutairi.