US Department of Justice files sealed opposition in Guantanamo Habeas case

US Department of Justice files sealed opposition in Guantanamo Habeas case

[JURIST] The US Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website] on Friday submitted a sealed document [The Guardian report] in opposition to the habeas corpus petition of Tariq Ba Odah, despite a 2009 government security review that cleared Ba Odah for transfer. In a public disclosure, the US government reported it “remains committed to promptly securing an appropriate location to which petitioner Ba Odah can be transferred.” Ba Odah is represented by Omar Farah of the Center for Constitutional Rights [official website; case backgrounder]. After the government’s filing, Farah announced [WSJ report] that he was disappointed by the inconsistencies between the original plan to close Guantanamo and the government’s execution of that plan. In June, Ba Odah submitted doctor’s statements into court records which argue Odah’s medical condition has reached the point of irreparable harm. Amnesty International (AI) [official website] filed a statement [press release] on the Ba Odah Habeas case, reporting on the prisoner’s ‘concerning’ medical condition and his ongoing hunger strike.

In recent weeks, the US government furthered its commitment to close the military prison at Guantanamo Bay and transfer or release the remaining 116 prisoners [The Guantanamo Docket; NYT report]. On July 1, US Secretary of State John Kerry appointed [JURIST report] Lee Wolowsky [professional profile] to effectuate the closure of Guantanamo Bay. Also last month, the Obama Administration confirmed in a press briefing [transcript] that the executive branch is drafting a plan to close Guantanamo Bay [JURIST backgrounder] before Obama’s second term expires. However, the US government has faced legal challenges [JURIST news archive] in its efforts to close the prison.