The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on June 8 denied a petition for a writ of habeas corpus filed by Guantánamo Bay detainee Adham Mohammed Ali Awad, allowing for continued incarceration of the Yemeni national by the US government. A three-judge panel unanimously upheld the district court’s decision, which referred to Awad’s role in armed conflict as “gossamer thin,” but still denied the detainee’s request for relief from indefinite incarceration.
Awad is accused of participating in combat training against the US in Afghanistan and is being charged in a supposed al-Qaeda raid of an Afghan hospital. Writing the opinion for the panel, Chief Judge David Sentelle clarified two legal standards for the court to use going forward. First the circuit court confirmed that in defending prolonged imprisonment of a detainee, the government is not required to show the detainee was part of the “command structure” of a terrorist group, but simply “part of” the organization. This statement lowers the threshold for the amount of evidence needed for incarceration.
The threshold was further limited by court’s clarifying statement regarding a previous ruling, holding that preponderance of evidence is the burden of proof to be used by the government in justifying continued imprisonment. The case was actually decided on June 2, but a redacted version was issued after the government verified that all confidential information had been removed from the opinion.
From Jurist, June 8. Used with permission.