Federal judge dismisses 105 former Guantanamo detainee <i>habeas</i> cases

Federal judge dismisses 105 former Guantanamo detainee habeas cases

[JURIST] A judge for the US District Court for the District of Columbia [official website] on Thursday dismissed [opinion, PDF] as moot 105 habeas corpus petitions of non-citizen former Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] detainees who are no longer in US custody. Judge Thomas Hogan wrote that in deciding the case, the court was answering one of the questions left open by the Supreme Court's 2008 decision in Boumediene v. Bush [JURIST report]: "what happens to a Guantanamo detainee's habeas claim once he is transferred or released." The former detainees had changed their petitions from seeking release from US custody to asking that the US intervene to seek their release from foreign custody or lift limitations placed on them by foreign states, or withdraw their prior determination as enemy combatants. Hogan ruled:

Upon consideration of the multiple briefs filed by the parties, the 105 habeas petitions, as well as the entire record herein, the Court finds that the District Court no longer has jurisdiction over Petitioners' habeas petitions. Petitioners are no longer in United States custody and fail to demonstrate that they suffer from collateral consequences of their prior detention that the Court can remedy. Accordingly, the Court will dismiss their habeas claims as moot.

Hogan added that petitioners' "alleged injuries are either speculative or beyond the Court’s authority to redress."

The US government has prevailed in 12 of the 46 habeas corpus cases decided [JURIST news archive] in the DC District Court. Former Guantanamo detainees have been transferred to countries including Latvia, Switzerland, Slovakia, Afghanistan, Palau, Bermuda, Algeria, and Somaliland [JURIST reports]. The Obama administration failed to meet its deadline [JURIST report] of closing the prison by January 2010 after running into several hurdles, including opposition from members of Congress and the suspension of detainee transfers to Yemen [JURIST report].