Khalid Ahmed Qassim, a Guantanamo Bay detainee from Yemen who made international headlines by writing in the Guardian about his hunger strike protesting his treatment, submitted multiple filings to the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on Feb. 22: a Joint Status Report (alongside the Department of Justice), a motion in limine, and a prehearing brief. This post will summarize each of these three filings.
Latest in Detention & Guantanamo
On Tuesday, March 20, a three-judge panel of the D.C. Circuit will hear oral argument in Al-Alwi v. Trump, the case of Guantanamo detainee Moath Hamza Ahmed al-Alwi. Chief Judge Merrick Garland and Judges Karen Henderson and Thomas Griffith will review D.C. District Court Judge Richard Leon’s February 2017 dismissal of al-Alwi’s second habeas petition.
Yesterday, U.S. officials indicated that Guantanamo Bay detainee Ahmed al-Darbi’s repatriation to his native Saudi Arabia to serve the remainder of his sentence would be delayed past the Feb. 20 deadline set forth in his 2014 plea agreement. The full statement by the spokesperson for the Office of Military Commissions, provided in response to an inquiry by the Miami Herald, reads as follows:
Has the U.S. government’s authority to use military detention under the 2001 authorization for the use of military force (AUMF) quietly expired? So argue a group of eleven Guantanamo detainees in a habeas corpus petition filed last week.
The petition raises significant questions, but I find it unpersuasive. Here’s why:
1. A threshold issue: Haven’t these detainees already pursued habeas relief?
Don't look now but the long dormant world of Guantanamo habeas litigation is getting at least a little bit less sleepy.
Last November, a detainee named Guled Hassan Duran, an alum of the CIA's RDI program, filed a new habeas petition.
On Sunday, John Bellinger forcefully summarized the main arguments for closing the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Having served as the Department of Defense Special Envoy for Guantanamo Detention Closure in the Obama Administration and as Director of the DOD Office of Legislative Counsel at the end of the Bush Administration, I agree with John’s conclusion. While a safe, humane facility, GTMO hurts us more than it helps us.
On Saturday, I wrote a post for Just Security titled “Whitewashing Guantánamo,” in which I explained how three different data points from the past week underscored a consistent and troubling pattern by the Trump administration—to rewrite the history of Guantánamo in a way that seeks to take the Bush Administration off the hook (“it was those pesky judges’ fault”), and to blame the Obama Administration for all recidivism by former detainees (the data is conclusively to the contrary) and for the plodding pace o
It is hard to believe that the Guantanamo Bay detention facility is back in the headlines fifteen years after it opened and eight years after President Obama ordered it closed. Having been present at its creation in 2001/2002 and having supported its closure in 2009, I want to provide a few observations for those new to the controversy. Drawing on some of my past posts, I will remind readers why Guantanamo was opened and why I believe it should now be closed.
Why Guantanamo Bay Was Opened
Yesterday morning, President Trump appears to have been watching Fox & Friends when he saw a troubling statistic: 122 former Guantánamo detainees have re-engaged in terrorism after their release. So the President took to Twitter:
122 vicious prisoners, released by the Obama Administration from Gitmo, have returned to the battlefield. Just another terrible decision!