Excerpts from rulings in Guantanamo Bay cases

AP News
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Posted: Nov 15, 2009 11:19 AM

Case summaries and excerpts from the opinions by U.S. District Court judges for the 30 terrorism detainees ordered released from the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, prison and the eight denied release since late 2008:

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ORDERING RELEASE

2008

_Oct. 9, Judge Ricardo Urbina ordered the release into the United States of 17 Guantanamo detainees from a Muslim minority group in western China, the Uighurs. The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia reversed Urbina and the Supreme Court has agreed to hear the detainees' appeal. The question is whether federal judges can order the executive branch to release detainees into the United States. The Uighurs have been held at Guantanamo, although the Bush administration approved release of 10 in 2003, five in 2005, one in 2006 and the last in 2008. Urbina wrote, "Because separation-of-powers concerns do not trump the very principle upon which this nation was founded _ the unalienable right to liberty _ the court orders the government to release the petitioners into the United States. ... Their detention has already crossed the constitutional threshold into infinitum." Status today: Ten detainees resettled to Bermuda and Palau, seven others still detained.

_Nov. 20, Judge Richard Leon ordered the release of five Algerian men. They had been living in Bosnia when arrested in an alleged plot to bomb the U.S. Embassy in Sarajevo, an accusation mentioned by President George W. Bush in his 2002 State of the Union address but later abandoned by the U.S. government. The Bush administration said the Algerians planned to travel to Afghanistan in late 2001 to fight U.S. forces: "To support its claim ... the government relies exclusively on the information contained in a classified document from an unnamed source. This source is the only evidence in the record directly supporting each detainee's alleged knowledge of, or commitment to, this supposed plan. ... To allow enemy combatancy to rest on so thin a reed would be inconsistent with this court's obligation." Status today: One resettled to France, three repatriated to Bosnia, one still detained.

2009

_Jan. 14, Judge Leon, in the case of Mohammed El Gharani, a citizen of Chad and native of Saudi Arabia who went to Afghanistan in 2001 where he allegedly fought U.S. forces at Tora Bora: "The credibility and reliability of the detainees being relied upon by the government has either been directly called into question by government personnel or has been characterized by government personnel as undetermined." Status today: repatriated to Chad.

_April 15, Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle, in the case of Yasin Muhammed Basardh, a Yemini national attacked by other detainees who believed he was a U.S. informant: "Any ties with the enemy have been severed, and any realistic risk that he could rejoin the enemy has been foreclosed. As a result, the executive's asserted justification for his continued detention lacks a basis in fact as well as in law." Status today: detained.

_May 5, Judge Gladys Kessler, in the case of Alla Ali Bin Ali Ahmed, detained at Guantanamo since 2002 when he was a teenager: "As to the claim of participating in fighting, the government produced virtually no credible evidence ... as to the claim that he traveled around Afghanistan in 2001 and 2002 in the company of terrorist fighters fleeing the battlefield, even if the government had proven this charge, which it did not, such a fact would not constitute substantial support." Status: Repatriated to Yemen.

_June 22, Judge Leon, in the case of Abdulrahim Abdul Razak Al Ginco, who uses the surname Janko, a Syrian citizen who allegedly traveled to Afghanistan to fight with the Taliban: "The government effectively concedes ... that petitioner Janko was not only imprisoned, but tortured by al-Qaida into making a false 'confession' that he was a U.S. spy, and imprisoned thereafter by the Taliban for over 18 months at the infamous Sarpusa prison in Kandahar." Status today: detained.

_July 29, U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, in the case of Khalid Abdullah Mishal Al Mutairi, a Kuwaiti who allegedly joined al-Qaida and an associated force. Days after the Sept. 11 attacks, Al Mutairi made one-way travel arrangements to visit Afghanistan, carrying $15,000 that he said he used to build a mosque and a school and to purchase food and clothing for refugees. "There is nothing in the record beyond speculation that Al Mutairi did, in fact, train with or otherwise become a part of either or both of those organizations." Status today: repatriated to Kuwait.

_July 30, Judge Huvelle on detainee Mohammed Jawad after the government concluded he was no longer detainable: "Respondents shall promptly release petitioner Jawad." Status: repatriated to Afghanistan.

_Aug. 17, Judge Kessler, in the case of Mohammed Al-Adahi, who said he attended al-Qaida's Al Farouq training camp for seven to 10 days out of curiosity and was expelled for disobeying rules: "While it is tempting to be swayed by the fact that petitioner readily acknowledged having met" Osama 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." Status today: detained.

_Sept. 17, Judge Kollar-Kotelly, in the case of Fouad Mahmoud Al Rabiah, a 50-year-old father of four from Kuwait who worked as an aviation engineer for 20 years and has a history of travel to impoverished countries for charitable purposes. The government says Al Rabiah is a devotee of Osama bin Laden and "ran to bin Laden's side" after Sept. 11. Al Rabiah says he traveled to Afghanistan to research its refugee problems and medical infrastructure. Kollar-Kotelly said: "After approximately" a classified number of "interrogations," certain people were "introduced to Al Rabiah who told him that he had to confess to something in order to be sent back to Kuwait. ... From that point forward, Al Rabiah provided his interrogators with countless confessions ... Significantly, the interrogators never believed these confessions. ... The court does not accept confessions that even the government's own interrogators did not believe." Status today: detained.

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REJECTING RELEASE

2008

_Nov. 20, Judge Leon, in the case of Belkacem Bensayah, the part of the group of Algerians arrested in Bosnia: Unlike the five other Algerians whom Leon ordered released, "the government provides credible and reliable evidence linking Mr. Bensayah to al-Qaida and, more specifically, to a senior al-Qaida facilitator." Status today: detained.

_Dec. 30, Judge Leon, in the case of Moath Hamza Amhed Al Alwi, a Yemeni citizen alleged to have traveled in 2000 from Saudi Arabia to Afghanistan to fight with the Taliban: "With respect to military training and support for fighting forces, again in large part based on petitioner's own admissions which the court found credible, the government established by a preponderance of the evidence that petitioner received such training at one particular Taliban-related camp and thereafter traveled to two different fronts over the following year to support Taliban fighting forces." Status today: detained.

_Dec. 30, Judge Leon, in the case of Hisham Sliti, a native of Tunisia who traveled to Afghanistan: "The government has more than adequately established that petitioner Sliti not only traveled there with both a false passport and as a result of considerable financial support provided to him by certain extremists with well-established ties to al-Qaida, but that he also spent time at different stages of his trip with individuals closely associated with al-Qaida. When combined with the other evidence proven by the government, it is a reasonable inference that petitioner Sliti was traveling to Afghanistan as an al-Qaida recruit." Status today: detained.

2009

_Jan. 28, Judge Leon, in the case of Ghaleb Nassar Al Bihani, a Yemeni citizen and native of Saudi Arabia who went to Afghanistan where he allegedly trained at an al-Qaida camp and fought in support of the Taliban: "Petitioner strongly contends that his service in the 55th Arab Brigade was limited to serving as a cook and kitchen aid to its 150-plus fighters. ... Simply stated, faithfully serving in an al-Qaida-affiliated fighting unit that is directly supporting the Taliban by helping to prepare the meals of its entire fighting force is more than sufficient 'support' to meet this court's definition. After all, as Napoleon himself was fond of pointing out: 'An army marches on its stomach.'" Status today: detained.

_April 2, Judge Leon, in the case of Hedi Hammamy, a Tunisian citizen arrested in Pakistan in 2002: "When combined with the intelligence report describing an extensive Italian law enforcement investigation into Hammamy's membership in, and the activities of, a terrorist cell that provided assistance and support to various Islamic terrorist organizations, the intelligence report of Hammamy's presence at Tora Bora becomes all the more probable." Status today: detained.

_Aug. 12, Judge Robertson, in the case of Adham Mohammed Ali Awad, who allegedly trained at the al-Qaida "Tarnak Farms" camp outside Kandahar, Afghanistan, and barricaded himself with other al-Qaida fighters in a hospital: "Awad's confessed reasons for traveling to Afghanistan and the correlation of names on a list ... clearly tied to al-Qaida make it more likely than not that he knew the al-Qaida fighters at the hospital and joined them in the barricade." Status today: detained.

_Aug. 24, Judge Kollar-Kotelly, in the case of Fawzi Khalid Abdullah Fahad Al Odah, a Kuwaiti who says he went to Afghanistan to teach Islamic studies: "Al Odah has admitted that he ... he accepted an AK-47 from these individuals; and that he traveled with his AK-47 into the Tora Bora mountains, remained there during the battle of Tora Bora, and was captured shortly thereafter by border guards while still carrying his AK-47." Status today: detained.

_Sept. 3, U.S. District Judge Rosemary Collyer, ruling against detainee Sufyian Barhoumi: "For the reasons stated on the record in a closed hearing on this date, it is ... ordered that petitioner's habeas corpus petition is denied." Status: detained.