Thursday, March 31, 2011

Court blocks release of Guantanamo detainee

Wed Mar 30, 2011 3:47PM

In a decision that will likely make it more difficult for Guantanamo prisoners to win release, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit has reversed a lower court's ruling in the pivotal case of a Yemeni detainee.

In a 14-page decision, the appeals court rejected the lower court's ruling to release Uthman Abdul Rahim Mohammed Uthman, who has been held at Guantanamo without charge since 2002. Uthman's case and the government's attempts to classify the legal opinions it generated were the subject of a ProPublica story.

The appeals court standard for detention has been laid out over the last year in a number of significant cases, and as with this case, each time in the government's favor. The results have been a boon for the Obama administration's efforts to keep certain Guantanamo detainees in custody. Huffington Post


Mohammed Uthman of Yemen won a lower court decision granting his release after more than nine years at the U.S. naval prison for terror suspects in Cuba. But a three-judge appellate panel overturned that ruling. AP

The decision further clarifies that standard by declaring that the government doesn't need direct evidence that a detainee fought for or was a member of al-Qaeda in order to justify a detention. Huffington Post

Much was riding on the Uthman case because he is among several dozen prisoners the Obama administration plans to hold indefinitely without charge. For other detainees, it will likely alter the way they can present their cases for release. Huffington Post

In 2008, Guantanamo detainees won the right to challenge the lawfulness of their detention in court. The first challenges were largely successful for detainees, but a number of significant cases have been pushed back at the circuit court. Raw Story

According to a count by the Justice Department, judges in the Washington federal court have now ordered the release of 34 detainees and ruled that 21 are being properly held. But many of those who have won their right to release remain at Guantanamo Bay because no other country will accept them. AP

On March 7, when president Barack Obama signed an executive order (E0) that varnishes the framework of indefinite detention without trial, he put the final nail in the coffin of his day-two promise to close Guantanamo. Aljazeera

Those detainees who, in the government's view, cannot be tried but are too dangerous to release will continue to be subject to "law of war detention" because they are deemed by official reviewers "in effect, [to] remain at war with the United States". Aljazeera

This means that Guantanamo can remain open as long as the "war on terror" continues. Not only is there no end in sight, no one is even speculating about what the end might look like. Aljazeera


On Jan. 22, 2009, two days after being sworn in as president - Barack Obama signed an executive order to suspend the military commissions and to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility within a year.

Since October 7, 2001, when the current war on Afghanistan began, almost 800 detainees have been brought to Guantanamo. USA Today

1,100 army and navy personnel are engaged in guarding the detainees held in nine separate camps at Guantanamo. Independent

Of those still incarcerated, U.S. officials said they intend to eventually put 60 to 80 on trial and free the rest.

The international Red Cross inspectors and released detainees have described acts of torture, including sleep deprivation, beatings and locking in confined and cold cells. Human rights groups have also argued that indefinite detention constitutes torture.

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