The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on May 27 affirmed a lower court’s decision confirming that Yemeni Guantánamo Bay detainee Musa’ab Omar al-Madhwani is lawfully detained for being part of al-Qaeda. Madhwani challenged the denial of 2004 petition for writ of habeas corpus by the US District Court for the District of Columbia claiming that there was insufficient evidence to find that he was part of al-Qaeda and that the district court improperly relied on evidence outside the record, abused its discretion in denying additional discovery and committed various legal errors, including due process violations. The court supported the use of the “command structure” test employed by the district court as “sufficient to show that a person is part of al-Qaeda” in response to Madhwani’s arguments against using an erroneous legal standard where only preponderance of evidence is needed to detain someone in connection with al Qaeda. Examining the evidence de novo, the appeals court found that:
In light of Madhwani’s guesthouse and military training camp admissions, his carrying a rifle at the behest of camp superiors, his suspicious movements and implausible narrative and his final capture in the company of at least one known al-Qaida operative, we conclude that a preponderance of the evidence unmistakably showed Madhwani was “part of” al-Qaida when he was captured. In addition to challenging the sufficiency of the evidence, Madhwani offers a laundry list of evidentiary and legal complaints. None establishes a convincing basis for us to reverse the district court’s denial of habeas corpus relief.
Madhwani remains at the Guantánamo detention facility.
From Jurist, May 28. Used with permission.