US judge grants habeas petition for Yemeni Gitmo detainee

A judge for the US District Court for the District of Columbia April 1 granted a habeas corpus petition filed by Yemeni Guantánamo Bay detainee Yasin Muhammed Basardh, ordering his release from the prison. His detention came under exclusive review of the court after a panel for the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit suspended its consideration of his case in light of the 2008 Supreme Court decision in Boumediene v. Bush, which it said gave the District Court sole jurisdiction over the matter. Justifications for Basardh’s release were kept classified. The US government was ordered “to take all necessary and appropriate diplomatic steps to facilitate the release of petitioner Basardh forthwith.” (Jurist, April 1)

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  1. Another habeas corpus win for Yemeni Gitmo detainee
    Judge Gladys Kessler of the US District Court for the District of Columbia released an opinion May 12 to accompany his decision a week earlier granting the habeas corpus petition of Yemeni Guantánamo Bay detainee Alla Ali Bin Ali Ahmed. In the heavily redacted opinion, Kessler adopted a “substantially supported” standard for reviewing the habeas petitions filed by detainees, which makes no reference to the “enemy combatant” classification upon which the previous standard was based. Kessler wrote that the government failed to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that Ahmed was “part of, or substantially supported, Taliban or al-Qaida forces or associated forces that are engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners.” According to the opinion, the government failed to prove that Ahmed participated in fighting, received military training, or substantially supported al Qaeda or the Taliban. At least four witnesses on whose statements the government based its case against Ahmed were speculative, vague, or not credible. Ahmed denied he ever engaged in terrorist activities.

    Ahmed was picked up in an al-Qaeda safe house in 2002 in Pakistan. The government had argued that Ahmed’s detention was justified under the Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF). Kessler noted that the Obama administration relies on the AUMF rather than Article II of the US Constitution as a source of authority for detaining terrorism suspects but no longer uses the term “enemy combatant” as a criterion for ordering such detentions. (Jurist, May 13)