Federal judge upholds detention of Yemeni Gitmo inmate

A judge for the US District Court for the District of Columbia on Feb. 18 denied a petition for writ of habeas corpus of a Yemeni man currently detained at Guantánamo Bay. Judge Ricardo Urbina held that the government proved by a preponderance of the evidence that Mashour Abdullah Muqbel Alsabri provided material support to the Taliban, al-Qaeda or associated enemy forces. The court found that the petitioner traveled to Afghanistan to fight with the Taliban or al-Qaeda, stayed at Taliban or al-Qaeda guesthouses, received military training at an al-Qaeda facility, traveled to the battle lines and was captured during armed conflict. The court found no evidence that the petitioner dissociated with these enemy forces at any point prior to his capture. These findings taken together, the court said, support the government’s contention that the petitioner was lawfully detained. The petitioner was arrested in 2002 and filed his habeas corpus petition in October 2006.

Federal courts have struggled with habeas corpus rights for Guantánamo detainees. In September, Kuwaiti Guantánamo detainee Fawzi Khalid Abdullah Fahad al Odah petitioned the US Supreme Court to reverse a federal appeals court decision that denied him habeas corpus relief. The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit denied relief to al-Odah in July, affirming the district court’s ruling that there was sufficient evidence for him to be considered “part of” al-Qaeda and Taliban forces. That month, the US District Court for the District of Columbia released a partially redacted opinion ordering the release of Yemeni Guantánamo Bay detainee Adnan Farhan Abdul Latif for lack of evidence.

From Jurist, Feb. 20. Used with permission.