Federal judge grants Yemeni Gitmo detainee’s habeas petition

A judge for the US District Court for the District of Columbia on July 21 granted the habeas corpus petition of Yemeni citizen Adnan Farhan Abdul Latif and ordered his immediate release from the Guantánamo Bay detention facility. Latif, who has been in custody for over eight years, contends that he was in Pakistan for medical treatment when he was arrested and turned over to US forces. According to a lawyer for Latif, he suffers from mental illness and depression, and he remains suicidal. The judge ordered the Obama administration to take all necessary steps to ensure that Latif is released.

In a separate decision announced Wednesday, a federal judge denied the habeas petition of Guantánamo detainee Abdul-Rahman Sulayman, ruling that he can continue to be held in custody indefinitely. Sulayman has also been in custody for over eight years. The rulings in both cases remain under seal as they are examined for possible security issues. The US Department of Justice is considering whether to appeal the ruling in Latif’s case.

The district court has ruled in favor of the government in 15 habeas corpus cases, while Guantánamo detainees have prevailed in 38 cases. Earlier this month, a court of appeals overturned a decision granting habeas relief to detainee Mohammed al-Adahi, ruling that the evidence, viewed as a whole, supported the conclusion that al-Adahi was part of al-Qaeda.

Also this month, the appeals court affirmed a lower court ruling denying habeas corpus relief to Guantánamo detainee Fawzi Khalid Abdullah Fahad al-Odah, ruling there was sufficient evidence to consider him part of al-Qaeda.

In May, the district court ordered the release of Yemeni Guantánamo Bay detainee Mohammed Hassen. Hassen had been initially detained in March 2002 following a raid in Faisalabad by Pakistani security forces. He has maintained throughout his detention that he had traveled to Pakistan to study the Koran at Salafi University and had no knowledge of al-Qaeda prior to his detention.

From Jurist, July 22. Used with permission.

The Obama administration has an official ban on the repatriation of detainees to Yemen.

  1. DC Circuit overturns release of Gitmo detainee
    The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on Nov. 9 released a partially redacted opinion in Latif v. Obama, overturning the release order for Yemeni Guantánamo detainee Adnan Farhan Abdul Latif. The redaction at times covers entire sections, but reveals strong divisions between the deciding judges. The unredacted portion of the majority opinion largely focuses on the lower court’s failure to afford the evidence of the government—in the form of intelligence reports—a “presumption of regularity.” (Jurist, Nov. 11)