Court Sets New Rules for Legal Challenges at Guantanamo ; A Federal Appeals Court in Washington Ruled against a Cook Who Worked for an Al Qaeda-Linked Group and Was Challenging the Legality of His Detention. the Ruling Clarified the Ground Rules for Future Habeas Corpus Cases Brought by Guantanamo Detainees

By Richey, Warren | The Christian Science Monitor, January 5, 2010 | Go to article overview

Court Sets New Rules for Legal Challenges at Guantanamo ; A Federal Appeals Court in Washington Ruled against a Cook Who Worked for an Al Qaeda-Linked Group and Was Challenging the Legality of His Detention. the Ruling Clarified the Ground Rules for Future Habeas Corpus Cases Brought by Guantanamo Detainees


Richey, Warren, The Christian Science Monitor


A federal appeals court in Washington has set new ground rules thatwill make it more difficult for Guantanamo detainees to successfullychallenge the legality of their open-ended detention.The action comes in the case of a Yemeni national who served as acook for an Arab paramilitary group in Afghanistan in 2001 and whosaid he never fired his gun or took any belligerent action againstthe US. Ghaleb Nassar Al-Bihani filed a habeas corpus petition,challenging the legality of his seven-year detention.The three-judge panel ruled on Tuesday that Mr. Al-Bihani was beinglawfully detained by the US military at Guantanamo.The judges said they reached that conclusion based on Mr.Al-Bihani's own statements to US officials about his connectionwith the 55th Arab Brigade. The Arab paramilitary group is describedin the 25-page opinion as an ally of the Taliban and included AlQaeda members within its command structure."His acknowledged actions - accompanying the brigade on thebattlefield, carrying a brigade-issued weapon, cooking for the unit,and retreating and surrendering under brigade orders - stronglysuggest, in the absence of an official membership card, that he waspart of the 55th," wrote Judge Janice Rogers Brown for the panel."Al- Bihani... falls squarely within the scope of the president'sstatutory detention powers."Complicating GuantanamoThe Al- Bihani case and other habeas corpuschallenges highlight the complexity of Obama administration effortsto close the Guantanamo Bay detention camp. On Tuesday, theadministration announced it would temporarily halt plans to transferYemeni detainees cleared for release from Guantanamo to Yemen.The transfers have been delayed amid concerns about a resurgent wingof Al Qaeda in Yemen and its suspected role in the attemptedChristmas Day bombing of Northwest Flight 253 near Detroit.In the meantime, habeas corpus challenges are continuing the federalcourts.Tuesday's decision by the US Circuit Court of Appeals for theDistrict of Columbia seeks to apply the US Supreme Court's 2008decision in a case called Boumediene v. Bush.In that decision, the Supreme Court ruled for the first time thatGuantanamo detainees enjoyed a constitutional right to pursue habeascorpus challenges in federal court. But the justices left it to thelower courts to work out the details.Since Boumediene, federal judges have ordered roughly 30 Guantanamodetainees freed while upholding the continued detention of sevenothers. Al-Bihani was among the seven who had lost their habeascases.The importance of the decisionThe appeals court decision isimportant because any standards established by the judicial panelmust be applied by the federal judges in Washington who are hearingon-going habeas cases from Guantanamo. …

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Court Sets New Rules for Legal Challenges at Guantanamo ; A Federal Appeals Court in Washington Ruled against a Cook Who Worked for an Al Qaeda-Linked Group and Was Challenging the Legality of His Detention. the Ruling Clarified the Ground Rules for Future Habeas Corpus Cases Brought by Guantanamo Detainees
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